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Spelling bee is Dec. 2

ROME TOWNSHIP — Spelling bee season is under way in Lawrence County.

Fairland West Elementary hosted its annual spelling bee Friday, with the winner set to compete with other school champions in the county event at the Ironton Municipal Court on Dec. 2.

The process began with all of the school’s 300 fourth and fifth graders competing in their classrooms. The 11 class winners faced off in Friday’s event.

Emma Barnette, of the fourth grade, won the school’s bee, after successfully spelling “measly.” Her fellow fourth graders rounded out the top three, with Morgan Black coming in as runner-up and Darius Lewis taking third.

Emma’s parents, Ray and Sue Barnette, were in the audience to see their daughter win.

Ray Barnette said he was “absolutely proud” of Emma.

“She prepared almost nightly, for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. I read the words to her,” he said. “The one she won with, she misspelled at first in practice.”

Sue Barnette also agreed the effort was key.

“It was good that she was prepared,” she said. “She wouldn’t have done as well had she not practiced.”

The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been annually since 1925, when it was launched as the National Spelling Bee. Nearly 11 million students take part across the country’s schools. The bee is open to students up to the age of 15 and up to eighth grade.

Sandy Joseph, the school’s assistant principal, who coordinated the bee, said it an academic advantage for students.

“It allows them to learn vocabulary,” she said. “A lot of words have multiple meanings. It provides discipline for those willing to study.”

The winner of the Lawrence County bee will go on to the regional event at Athens on March 16. The Scripps National Spelling Bee will be in Washington, D.C. from May 27-28.