public school spelling bee
By Holly Fesperman LeeSalisbury Post
She was the last to spell, but Emily Hammer out-spelled 26 other students to take first place in this year’s public school spelling bee.
The Erwin Middle School sixth-grader correctly spelled “calypso” to seal her victory.
“I didn’t think I would win,” she said.
Emily said she was afraid she’d be out in the first round. Her first word was “flotilla,” a word she said she’d never heard.
That first round didn’t stop her, but it did eliminate seven students.
Words including “salami,” “mosque,” “nosiest,” “bungalow,” “sarcasm,” “yacht” and “sombrero” caused problems immediately.
The second round proved even more problematic, as nine more children took their seats off stage.
The fifth round thinned the field from seven to four, but the sixth round didn’t phase the competition’s best spellers.
Blake Shoaf from Cleveland Elementary spelled “furlough” and the spanish origin of “machismo” didn’t shake Taylor Matheny from West Rowan Middle School.
Cameron Barringer from Bostian Elementary spelled “howitzer” with no problems and Emily confidently spelled “crescendo.”
Blake finished in fourth place after missing “bureaucracy” and Taylor took home third place on “staccato.”
But “salmonella” didn’t make Cameron sick to his stomach.
Emily and Cameron battled it out in the last few moments, but when Cameron stumbled on “barrage,” Emily spelled her word, “boudoir.” Then she spelled “calypso” for the win.
“I was so nervous,” Emily said.
Her diligent studying helped her overcome that nervous feeling and while Emily said she was excited to win, she knows “it’s going to be a lot more studying.”
She said she planned to simply study the word lists again to prepare for the regional spelling be March 30 in Winston-Salem.
Emily’s family attended the spelling bee to cheer her on and her dad, Nat Hammer, said “the last four or five days she said she felt like she knew the words. I guess she was right.”
“We’re proud of her,” he said.
Thanks to the Quality Education Committee of the Rowan Business Alliance, the first- through fourth-place winners walked away with $5,000 in prizes.
Emily took home a $750 academic scholarship from the Rowan Business Alliance, a $500 U.S. Savings Bond from the Rowan Business Alliance Association, a $100 gift certificate from Ralph Baker’s Shoes, a one-year membership to the Rowan County YMCA, $75 cash and $25 to Erwin Middle’s media center.
Cameron’s prizes included a $500 U.S. savings bond from the Rowan Business Alliance Association, a 15-inch flat screen television with a DVD player, a $50 gift certificate from Ralph Baker’s Shoes, a one-year membership to the Rowan County YMCA and $50 cash.
All participants received a trophy provided by the Salisbury Post, along with a case of Cheerwine soft drinks from Cheerwine Bottling Co., Chick-Fil-A savings coupons and a free miniature golf pass from Dan Nicholas Park.
Other competitors and the schools they represented were:
Casey Miller, China Grove Elementary; Maddie Gentry, Overton Elementary; Talayshia Henderson, Koontz Elementary; Taylor Shue, Enochville Elementary; Jamey T. Smith, Shive Elementary; Callie Slife, Faith Elementary; Sydney Feriante, Granite Quarry Elementary, Caroline Billingsley, Hanford Dole Elementary; Elizabeth Furches, Hurley Elementary; Elizabeth Ervin, Isenberg Elementary; Adna Music, Knollwood Elementary; Augusta Shaver, Landis Elementary; Jasmine Belush, Millbridge Elementary; Colton Trexler, Morgan Elementary; Charly Brown, Mount Ulla Elementary; Megan Braun, North Rowan Elementary; Brandy Kegeris, Rockwell Elementary; Hayley Overcash, Woodleaf Elementary; Zahra Khan, China Grove Middle; Caleb Mullis, Corriher-Lipe Middle; Kyle Wolfe, Knox Middle; Winne Wang, North Rowan Middle; and Taylor Jose, Southeast Middle.
Contact Holly Lee at 704-797-7683 or firstname.lastname@example.org.