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4 county students going to regional bee

Four Lawrence County students have qualified for the 2014 Scripps College of Communication Regional Spelling on March 22 in Athens.

Fifty-five spellers from across Ohio will compete for a chance to advance to the national bee in Washington, D.C. Of the 55, three middle school students and one elementary school student from Lawrence County will participate. Chesapeake sixth-grader Emily Neal, Fairland eighth-grader Brianna Brown, South Point sixth-grader Eric Daniels and Symmes Valley fifth-grader Jalyn Teasdale all won their school bees and received a required score of 37 or better on the online test.

“She’s ecstatic,” Shelley Neal, Emily’s mother, said. “She finished in third-place last year and really feels as though she can win this time.”

Emily’s credentials have placed her in the upper echelon of spellers. She finished second in the 2011 Lawrence County Spelling Bee and won the competition the past two years. Her accomplishments are made even more impressive when considering she would be totally deaf without the use of Cochlear implants.

“I think her experience is definitely to her advantage,” Shelley said. “She has been to Athens before and competed in so many bees she really doesn’t get nervous anymore.”

Fairland Middle School’s Brianna Brown, 14, is a two-time school champion who was eliminated in the fourth round of the regional bee last year.

“(Her father, Brian, and mother, Kasey,) are very proud of her,” Kasey said. “She did OK last year and this year is going to be tough because they have to know the words’ definitions, too.”

Brianna has always been a good speller, Kasey said, “It’s just her thing.”

Brianna’s grandmother, Patricia (Patti) Rowe, helps her study for the bee.

“She tells me the word and I spell it,” Brianna said. “Having to know the definition adds a new element to it for sure.”

Daniels, 11, is making his first trip to Athens after finishing fourth in South Point Middle School’s bee last year. He says he left no stone unturned in regard to preparing for this year’s schoolwide bee.

“I studied harder,” Daniels said. “I made sure I knew the correct pronunciation so I could differentiate the words.”

Teasdale is the lone elementary school student representing Lawrence County at the regional bee after correctly spelling “grouse.”

“I’m nervous, but I feel pretty good about it,” Teasdale said. “I am proud to represent my school at regionals and get the chance to go to Washington, D.C.”

The regional bee begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, in the Baker Student Center at Ohio University in Athens.