LEE COUNTY SPELLING BEE: Randolph wins his third straight spelling title
For the third time in as many years, SanLee Middle School eighth grader Hunter Randolph will represent Lee County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., this spring.
The snowfall didn't stop close to 30 Lee County School students from participating in the third annual Lee County Spelling Bee Saturday, with bragging rights as Lee County's top speller remaining with Randolph.
The returning champion successfully made it through seven rounds in McLeod Auditorium at Lee County High School, ultimately winning by correctly spelling the word "snivel."
"It's fun," Randolph said. "It got a lot easier and it's something I enjoy."
Randolph said he's looking forward to representing Lee County once again in Washington and hopes to make it to the semifinals. The national organization constantly has events for the spellers to participate in and Randolph said he's made several friends during his previous trips. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is held each year in May.
West Lee Middle School eighth-grader Katelyn Taylor placed second, followed by Deep River Elementary School fifth-grader Garrett Gordon who placed third.
Organized by Lee County Partners for the Advancement of Gifted Education (PAGE) and co-sponsored by Lee County Schools and The Herald, the Lee County District Spelling Bee featured students in grades 3-8 who first proved their spelling skills in classroom and school-level bees.
Spelling bees are an American tradition, said PAGE President Brad Marin, who serves as the spelling bee coordinator.
"Thank you so much to our friends, family and community members who encourage and inspire our students in their schools and classrooms so they can be here today," he said.
The program is starting to see more and more repeat spellers, he said, and the students showed strong sportsmanship during the competition.
Marin said he wishes Randolph and his family the best of luck during the upcoming competition and he was proud to have the strong speller representing Lee County.
"I hope you all agree the spelling bee provides a valuable experience," Marin said before the start of the bee. "And if you do, I encourage you to volunteer at our local schools or contribute to our spelling bee fund."