Emily Garcia wins county spelling bee

Feb. 23, 2014 @ 05:02 AM

It may have taken "entourage," "heifer," "prerogative" and "infinitesimal" to get East Lee Middle School seventh grader Emily Garcia to the final round of the 2014 Lee County PAGE District Spelling Bee, but it was "nemesis" that solidified her first-place ranking.

More than 25 Lee County students contended for the first-place spot Saturday in the McLeod Auditorium at Lee County High School for the annual spelling bee — the fourth for primary sponsor Lee County PAGE (Partners for the Advancement of Gifted Education).

"I'm so overwhelmed," Garcia said. "I was nervous and I didn't know if I spelled it right. I am excited. Shocked. I can't believe it."

Her mother, Maria, said she was very excited for her daughter, who has competed in the spelling bee the past three years, and that she was extremely proud.

"I want to thank the Lord first because He makes this happen," she said.

Ellie Booth, a fifth grader from B.T. Bullock Elementary School, placed third after misspelling "metamorphosis." Angel Lopez, a eighth grader from West Lee Middle School, placed second after stumbling over "recidivist."

"This is a community celebration of academic achievement," said Lee County Schools Superintendent Andy Bryan. "I am glad to see everyone here. All of the students you see here are winners. It's a true test to get on the stage today. It takes a great deal of effort and courage to put yourself out there."

Hunter Randolph, who has represented Lee County at the the Scripps National Spelling Bee the last three years, presented Garcia with her medal and her new dictionary.

Garcia is now able to compete at the national spelling bee competition in Washington, D.C.