Having lost one chance to prove herself as Scotland County schools’ top speller, eighth-grader Alana Grooms emerged victorious in this year’s countywide spelling bee on Tuesday.
Alana represented Sycamore Lane Middle School in the spelling bee, along with students from each of the other 10 elementary and middle schools in the county. Each student had already won bees in their classroom and against classroom winners in their schools to earn a spot in the countywide contest.
Alana had winning down to a science at Sycamore Lane, having already won the school-wide bee there as a sixth-grader. She spent her seventh grade year in Clayton, giving her a two for two record at Sycamore Lane.
“I was expecting to win,” Alana said. “I won it in sixth grade, then in the seventh grade I moved, then I came back, so I wanted to win it again for my eighth grade year.”
Her experience in the county bee that year, however, was not one that she cared to replicate.
“I was really nervous when I went - I’d never been before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” she said. “We did the practice round, then I got out on the first round, so I was upset.”
This year’s spelling bee, called by Rachel Gallman of WLNC, lasted for about a dozen rounds.
“They gave me a list of words to practice when I won last week, so I looked over those to give me a feel of what to expect,” Alana said. “This year I knew what it was like, so I wasn’t really as nervous as I was before.”
After the runner-up, Covington Street Elementary School student Claire Carter, misspelled her word, Alana was given two words to spell before she was declared the winner. Although most of the words in the bee were easy for the middle school student, her final word, a term for a member of the ancient Japanese military nobility, took a little guesswork.
“There weren’t that many rounds that I had to go up there, so it wasn’t really very hard,” said Alana. “I had to spell two words in order to win. I had predicate first and then shogun - I didn’t really know what that was.”
Alana, a Laurinburg resident and daughter of Alison House and Clifton Campbell, will represent Scotland County Schools in the Charlotte Observer spelling bee in February. Her enthusiasm for reading has helped her become a proficient speller, she said.
“Reading is my favorite subject - I understand it more and I like it more than other subjects,” Alana said. “They have these books, the Bluford High series, I’ve read them all. I really like those books because they’re mainly about everyday life.”
Also participating in the 2012 Scotland County Schools spelling bee were Trey Dixon of Carver Middle School, Jason Kang of Spring Hill Middle School, Manijya Spain of I. Ellis Johnson Elementary School, Marissa Norton of Laurel Hill Elementary School, Chancellor Byrd of North Laurinburg Elementary School, Kameron McRae of Pate-Gardner Elementary School, Gracie Williams of South Scotland Elementary School, Sara Jorgensen of Wagram Primary School, and Ana Huesa of Washington Park Elementary School.