The 2009 Hopkins County Spelling Bee Championship went to sixth grader Timothy White, with eighth grader Ashley Clegg as the first runner-up.
This marks White’s second appearance at the spelling bee. In fact, last year was his first time to compete in any type of spelling bee, much less the Hopkins County Spelling Bee, where he came in a close second to Clegg. He was only 7 at the time, and said he just studied Merriam-Webster’s “Spell It!” and his regular school spelling programs.
This year’s spelling bee champ is 8 years old and a sixth grader in the home-school cooperative Christian Home Educators of Sulphur Springs, a private organization of home-schooling families in and around Sulphur Springs. Timothy, the son of Richie and Lonette White of Sulphur Springs, could challenge for the title two more years.
If he cannot attend, first runner-up Ashley Clegg, daughter of Randy Clegg and Sherri and Gary Attaway, would be the alternate. Clegg has been a serious contender at the county spelling bee for four years. She beat out Timothy White in 2008 by correctly spelling dyslexia in the double-elimination round to brought the trophy home. She “spelled out” in the seventh round in 2007 and went to the final double elimination round in 2006. This marks the last year the Sulphur Springs Middle School eighth grader is eligible to compete.
The eight other students who competed in the 2009 Hopkins County Spelling Bee — Alexis Chancellor, SSMS; fifth graders Taliana Bell and Dakotah Stalcup, Douglas Intermediate School; fifth grader Jordan Lane and eighth grader Courtney Goldsmith, Saltillo; eighth grader Brady Fisher, CHESS; and eighth graders Kaci Fields and Aldyn Green, Como-Pickton — were also commended for their participation.
The contestants were primarily all fifth and eighth graders, which means while half won’t be eligible to compete again next year, the other half could be contenders for three more years.
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