Every one of the 25 students was already a champion for making it to the county-level competition, but only four spots were available for the regional competition, which will be held March 16.
Three judges and three scorekeepers kept track of the two-hour long event, which included an hour-long spelling standoff between Allen Steele and Hannah Abraham for the first-place title.
The bee also held a tiebreaker at the end to decide the third- and fourth-place winners.
All the students were challenged with difficult words predetermined by the spelling bee committee. Many relatives, teachers and friends were in attendance at Tiger Creek Elementary, wringing their hands as they silently cheered for their favorites.
In meeting the contestants, those attending learned about the ambitious group of students. Jackson House from Ringgold Middle School hopes to be in the NBA — or a lawyer. Bo Phillips from Boynton Elementary plans on going to college to create new video games. And, Gabby Ware from Cloud Springs Elementary wants to go to college to be an anesthesiologist.
These students are on the path to success, already showing their talents through their dedication to school.
“There are no losers here,” said Ingrid Jones, Catoosa County Spelling Bee coordinator. “They have worked hard studying to be here and so they are all winners.”
After each round the students were narrowed down and the words got increasingly difficult. At last, first place went to Allen Steele for spelling the word “panacea” correctly. Steele is 11 years old and plans on going to college to be a history teacher.
Hannah Abraham, Steele’s opponent for the first-place title, was equal in talent, putting up a fight until the end. Abraham is 12 years old and plans to go to college to be a physician.
Third-place winner Jonathan Jones is 13 years old and wants to be a geologist.
Fourth-place winner Megan Courtney is 10 years old and wants to be valedictorian in high school, go to college and become a teacher.