A school board member's daughter will be representing Marshall County at the regional spelling bee next month.
Anna Claire Moses, daughter of Marshall County School Board member Donnie Moses and his wife, Teresa, was declared the winner Thursday night at the Marshall County Education Association's Spelling Bee.
Also going to the regional bee is second-place winner Leah Hollingsworth. Moses and Hollingsworth are both students at Oak Grove Elementary.
Aspen Chapman, a 6th grader from Cornersville Elementary, placed third.
More than 40 spellers from six elementary and middle schools took the stage at Lewisburg Middle School. Supervisor of Elementary Education Vylatte Gooch welcomed students and parents.
"This is a big achievement," Gooch told the boys and girls on stage. "You have a lot to be proud of."
She introduced the judges - Carol Helton, Lori Curtis and Nancy Aldridge - and the enunciator, high school English teacher Ginger Hardison.
Last year, LMS students filled three of the four top places at the countywide spelling bee, but this time there was none in competition.
In an e-mail LMS English teacher Carolyn Keysaer said she thought the school was registered with Scripps (organizer of the national spelling bee), and when she found out they weren't, it was too late.
"We were all pretty devastated," Keysaer wrote. "Don't worry, we will get 'em next year," she added.
The first round cut the number of competitors by almost two-thirds, with words like gourmet, serenade, whimsical and phylum tripping up nervous or ill-prepared spellers.
Fifteen moved on to the second round, and 14 of those failed to spell their word correctly. That left Moses alone. She had spelled dilemma without a problem, and then - to prove it wasn't a lucky guess - also spelled stroganoff correctly, so she was declared the winner.
The other 14 were called back on stage to compete for second and third places.
The third round cut that number down to five, four girls and a boy. Their correct words were carbohydrate, afghan, scythe, beatific and retrospect.
The next round eliminated two, who misspelled sultan and access, and the fifth round took out Morgan Luna when she spelled talc with a "k."
That left Hollingsworth and Chapman fighting it out for second and third places. Neck and neck they battled with baton, crimp, powwow, loam, tragic, and caboose, until, finally, academy was spelled wrong, and rehearse was spelled right, to finalize the results.
The winners received trophies, cash prizes, and gift cards, donated by First Commerce Bank and Sonic. All participants went home with a goodie bag, thanks to Sonic, H&S #1, Moon Pencil Company, Wal-Mart and Newell Rubbermaid.
The Middle Tennessee regional spelling bee will be held at Belmont University, Nashville, on Friday, March 2. For the first time, it will be sponsored by Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. The law firm stepped up when the Gannett-owned Tennessean newspaper refused to renew their sponsorship. Historically, the newspaper has paid the $5,550 required to hold the annual event, but Tennessean marketing leaders said time and expenses were too great to continue doing so. Without a regional spelling bee, Tennessee students could not qualify to go to the Scripps national spelling bee, held every year near Washington, D.C. at the end of May.