For the last four years, CHESS student Timothy White has won and defended his title as Hopkins County Spelling Bee Champion. This year’s contest on March 18 features a number of changes.
This year, the bee will start fresh not only with a new sponsor at a new location, but also with a new winner. White’s not eligible to compete again this year, which guarantees a new winner. And, unlike in past years, the contest features only four students — two from Saltillo and two Christian Home Educators of Sulphur Springs students.
Representing Saltillo will be sixth grader Lindsay Butler and fifth grader Joe Tippit. Anna Attaway and Madi Gauntt will represent CHESS.
For the first time in at least a dozen years, the meet will be hosted not by Sulphur Springs Independent School District — which doesn’t have any students entered — but by Saltillo Independent School District. The meet will be held Monday, Feb. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church’s Recreational Outreach Center (The ROC) in Sulphur Springs.
Acting as pronouncer will be Saltillo fourth grade teacher Jeanne Lawrence.
This year’s judges will be Saltillo PEIMS coordinator Allie Thompson; Saltillo Counselor Joli Maroney; and representing CHESS Lonette White (mom of former champion Timothy White).
The past few years, the contest has ended with fewer rounds each time. Last year, White won it in two rounds, with only three of the eight students making it to the second around. And, the 2012 spell-off was not between the top two competitors for first place, but the two students vying for first-runner up — that student is the alternate to the regional bee if the winner is unable to attend.
The 2011 contest featured only five rounds and a spell off, 10 rounds in 2010 and 11 in 2008. The most rounds at the county bee since 2000 was 18 in 2003, with 2004 second for the record with 14 rounds.
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