Area#039;s top spellers face off

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 6, 2004

On paper the word doesn't seem intimidating, but the word "orienteering" certainly sounds rather daunting, particularly if you have to spell it on stage.

Just ask either of the two finalists in the Thursday's 2004 Lawrence County Spelling Bee and both will tell you that was simply the most difficult word in play.

"I didn't have a clue," admits 13-year-old Clinton Baise, an eighth-grader from Chesapeake.

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And, after more than 70 words whittled down the field of 16 students from across the county, Baise and Chris Warner stood side-by-side in the jury box of the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas.

"The hardest word was orienteering," Warner said.

Warner said he was lucky he didn't get the word, but was glad he won the contest.

"It's pretty cool," the 12-year-old Ironton Middle School student said. "I didn't think I'd win."

For Warner, the victory was the culmination of hours of studying and practicing.

Contestants at Thursday's spelling bee each won a spelling contest at each of the eight districts in the county.

Before the bee started Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown welcomed the students.

"You understand you are all already winners," he told students. "We're very fortunate in Lawrence County that there are people who will get involved in things like this."

Harold Shafer, Superintendent of Lawrence County Schools, said the spelling bee was the culmination of much hard work from participants.

"They spend hours and hours and hours studying these books and they work hard," he said. "We're very concerned with academics because that's what's going to put beans on the table."

Participants included: Clinton Baise and Hannah Huron from Chesapeake Union Exempted Village School District; Katey Willis and James Willis from Dawson-Bryant Local School District; Robert Hinshaw and Schuyler Moore from Fairland Local School District; Chris Warner and Nathan Kerns from Ironton City School District; Sara Basedow and Jerrod Labor from Ironton St. Joseph School; Chaia Robinson and Kimberly McGuire from Rock Hill Local School District; Julie Ball and B.J. Winters from South Point Local School District; and Julie Carter and Jared Carter from Symmes Valley Local School District.

The event was sponsored by the Lawrence County Educational Service Center.