By Mary Catherine Brooks
Wyoming County Bureau Chief
Wyoming County Schools’ 30th annual spelling bee took 40 minutes from beginning to end.
Gabby Lupardus, a seventh-grade student at Pineville Middle School, won the top spot by spelling constitutional and pantheon correctly.
Breanna Mills, an eighth-grader from Herndon Consolidated Elementary and Middle School, was the runner-up.
Lupardus and Mills each misspelled three words, with the lead going back and forth between the two over several rounds.
Then in the 12th and 13th rounds, Lupardus spelled both her words correctly. Mills misspelled paucity in the 12th round, earning second place.
Both advance to the regional competition, scheduled March 16 in Charleston, where they will compete as equals.
Chloe Cook, a fourth-grader at Pineville Elementary, was the alternate and will compete if one of the winners cannot participate in the regional event.
None of the 21 competitors was eliminated in the first two rounds of spelling.
In the third round, however, the words became much more difficult and the competitors were eliminated quickly. Thirteen students misspelled words in round three.
By the fifth round, the competition was down to the final three students. All three students misspelled the words in this round.
According to the rules, the champion must correctly spell one more word than the runner-up.
Winners and runners-up from each school with fourth through eighth grades were eligible to compete as equals.
School winners, runners-up, and coordinators, respectively, were:
Baileysville: Johnny Brown, McKenzie Bledsoe, Delena Vanover;
Berlin McKinney: Jaedan Fleenor, Christian Spolarich, Lisa Cline;
Glen Fork: Jeremy Dean Tilley, Ethan Francis, Brittany Besl;
Herndon: Breanna Mills, Donald Nicholson, Deborah Davidson;
Huff: Shania Lester, Destiny Deer, Reva Smith;
Mullens Elementary: Leah Logan, Emily Hypes, Charlotte Lusk;
Pineville Elementary: Chloe Cook, Joshua Seaton, Elaine Perdue;
Road Branch: Tyler Elkins, Sarah Boothe, Brenda Proffit;
Mullens Middle: Micah Weis, Apollonia Turrisi, Sid Bradford;
Oceana Middle: Corey Stewart, Dewayne Bledsoe, Tammy Cook;
Pineville Middle: Gabby Lupardus, Jordan Simpson, Lynell Daniels.
Joseph Stewart, Title I director, is the competition director. James McGrady, assistant superintendent of schools, served as pronouncer. Jima Dunigan, Brenda Shumate, and Carolyn Cook were judges. Teresa Maynard was the technology coordinator.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org