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Local spellers a s-u-c-c-e-s-s
Students compete in citywide bee
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Martinsville Schools Superintendent Pam Heath poses with spelling bee finalists (from left) Journey Sunkins, Betsabe Galindo, Finley Underwood, Amia Spencer and the winner, Reese Bell on Thursday Not pictured is Vanessa Argueta. (Contributed photos by Kim Buck)
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Friday, February 22, 2013

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Reese Bell, a sixth-grader at Martinsville Middle School, correctly spelled “grabble,” “guru,” “trek,” “foyer,” “Sputnik,” “fiesta,” “Dracula” and finally “karma” to win Martinsville City Schools’ spelling bee Thursday night.

Reese said he felt “pretty good” after winning the bee for students in grades three through eight.

Reese’s dad, Maurice Bell, said he was “elated, very excited for him ... I’m very proud of him.”

The bee went eight rounds.

Reese received a trophy and will advance to the regional spelling bee on March 17 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The student said he spent about three days preparing for the division bee after placing first in the Martinsville Middle School bee.

In all, the school division has more than 1,000 students in grades three through eight, school officials estimated. Students competed at the classroom level and then for their school championships. School winners and runners-up advanced to the division championship bee.

Journey Sunkins, a fifth-grader who won the Patrick Henry Elementary School bee, was runner-up at the division championship bee. She correctly spelled “mentor,” “prairie,” “biopsy,” “gardenia,” “decoy” and “tycoon” before misspelling “beige” in the division bee.

Others who competed in the division championship bee follow.

Betsabe Galindo correctly spelled “angelic,” “pretzel” and “newfangled” before misspelling “dungaree.” She placed second in the bee at Albert Harris Elementary, where she is in the fifth grade.

Finley Underwood correctly spelled “quiver” and “safari” before misspelling “nestle.” He placed second in the bee at Patrick Henry Elementary, where he is in the fourth grade.

Amia Spencer correctly spelled “admiral” before misspelling “knapsack.” She placed first in the spelling bee at Albert Harris Elementary School, where she is in the fifth grade.

Schools Superintendent Pam Heath told the contestants immediately after the division bee: “I’m glad it was you spelling and not me.” She praised the students and said, “It’s kind of nerve-racking up there.”

Earlier in the program, Heath said the contestants “are all winners to be here.”

Anne Stultz, 21st century programs coordinator for the school division, was in charge of the bee. “It’s nice for them to learn words in context and learn what they mean,” she said.

Bee officials said contestants reviewed hundreds of words.

Eighth-grader Vanessa Argueta placed second in the bee at Martinsville Middle School but did not compete in the division championship bee.

More than 30 people attended the division bee, which was at Martinsville Middle School.


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