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Spelling success

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February 11, 2005

Albany - Did you dread spelling tests when you were a kid? A lot of students look forward to them. Twenty-two students from Dougherty County's middle and elementary schools competed in the system-wide spelling bee Friday morning.

The kids flew through the first round of words, but the next round was little more difficult. A missing "P" from the word "apprehend"sent one young speller home, and other competitors quickly followed. Words such as "beige," "companion," and "adjournment" narrowed the 22 spellers down to just two; Suzanne Johnson, a 7th grader at Merry Acres Middle, and Austin Mahler, a fifth grader at Lake Park Elementary.

The final round's first word - ultimatum. Austin's first thought, "Oh, that's a freaky word." He misspelled the word, but then Suzanne's spelling was also incorrect. So, next came reconciliation. A misspelling by Austin and a correct one by Suzanne put her in front, but the next word was "capitulation."

"I was like, huh?" said Suzanne after the competition. She asked for the definition. "I had no clue how to even say the word." But, it didn't help and she misspelled the word.

Austin's second chance proved successful. He had to correctly spell just one more word to win - congregation. "My final word was congregation kind of a simple word in my opinion," said Austin. Maybe a simple word, but still a fair win for Austin.

"This my help me when I grow up. I want to become an Air Force Pilot."

Second place didn't discourage Suzanne, "I'm glad I made it this far, I studied hard, and I did good."

Austin will compete in the district spelling bee February 28th.

posted at 6:00PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com