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Pittman outlasts 12 other HC spelling bee contestants

Pittman outlasts 12 other HC spelling bee contestants
Pittman outlasts 12 other HC spelling bee contestants
Zaylie Pittman, a fifth-grade student at South Central Elementary School, talks with her principal, Sharon Mathes, after winning the Harrison County Spelling Bee last Tuesday night. With them is Zaylie’s mother, Stephanie Pittman, brother, Zayden, and former teacher, Stephanie Tostaine. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

Zaylie Pittman, a fifth-grade student at South Central Elementary School, won the Harrison County Spelling Bee contest Feb. 4 after battling 12 other contestants.

Scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. in the Morgan Elementary School cafeteria, the audience silenced when the judges — Marla Adams, Martha Beckort and Danny Schmidt — and contestants filed onto the stage and took their seats. Things remained quiet another 10 minutes, until Lark Mull, the contest’s pronouncer, entered and took her place at the podium.

“Technology is great when it works,” she said, alluding to the cause for the delay.

Before starting with a practice round of words, Mull reminded the students they could ask her to repeat the word, ask for the definition and/or language of origin and ask to hear the word used in a sentence.

“Take a deep breath, let it out, relax and have fun,” she said before giving contestant No. 1, Landen Sutherland, a seventh-grade student at South Central Junior-Senior High School, the first practice word, pellets.

The order of contestants were determined by a drawing of numbers.

Two students were eliminated during Round 1, which started about six minutes before 7. Pittman’s word was trite.

Four additional students misspelled their words in Round 2. Pittman’s word was kneecap.

Round 3 eliminated one more speller, and four more went out in Round 4.

The three remaining contestants correctly spelled their words in Round 5. Pittman had abolition. Ruby Francisco, a sixth-grade student at Heth-Washington Elementary School, spelled toboggan, and Zachary Terry, a sixth-grader at New Middletown Elementary School, spelled crevice.

Round 6 narrowed the contest to Pittman (correctly spelled strudel) and Francisco (correctly spelled transect) when Terry missed the word benign.

Pittman correctly spelled thenceforth to start Round 7 before Francisco stumbled on colossal.

Mull told the contestants they all had done a “great job” and may have known how to spell every word, except the one that tripped them up.

“You’re all winners, having represented your schools,” she said.

Among those congratulating Pittman after the contest were her parents, Josh and Stephanie Pittman of Elizabeth; her 7-year-old brother, Zayden; her grandfather, Wayne Pittman; and Sharon Mathes and Stephanie Tostaine, the principal and teacher, respectively, at South Central Elementary.

Zaylie said she competed in the school spelling bee last year and wanted to do better this year. She said she asked for her words to be used in a sentence even though she was pretty confident of how to spell them. For her last word, thenceforth, she also asked Mull to repeat it, twice.

She said she practiced the proposed list of words “a lot,” especially with her mother. Words she was unfamiliar with, Pittman looked up in the dictionary.

Pittman now will compete in the Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee on March 14, the day after her 11th birthday. She said she likely will study about the same length of time.

Other contestants in the Harrison County Spelling Bee were Samantha Joy Carr, grade 7, North Harrison Middle School; Jacqueline Goodman, grade 5, Morgan Elementary School; Annalise Hopson, grade 8, Corydon Central Junior High School; Robert Pallares, grade 5, Corydon Intermediate School; Isaac Rice, grade 4, St. Joseph Catholic School; Logan Thompson, grade 7, Lanesville Junior-Senior High School; Keagan Toole, grade 6, Lanesville Elementary School; Chaos Trobaugh, grade 5, North Harrison Elementary School; and Raymond Wood, grade 4, St. John’s Lutheran School.