The Grundy County Spelling Bee, held on February 9, at Coalmont Elementary School, produced the county’s first female winner in several years. Clare Fontenelle, from Tracy City Elementary School, took home first place honors and will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee in Chattanooga. Following Fontenenelle were Ethan Meeks, SMES, second place; D.J. Johnson, CES, third place; and K. Jay Layne, CES, fourth place.
Participants in the Scripps District Level Spelling Bee had made the journey through the Scripps Classroom Contest and the Scripps School Contest to take their place on the stage at CES on Friday.
The team winner for the event was Coalmont Elementary School. The team winner is determined by a ranking system in which schools receive points based on when spellers are eliminated. This year’s team standings were CES, first; Swiss Memorial Elementary School, second; a tie for third between North Elementary School and TCES; Pelham Elementary School, fourth; and Palmer Elementary School, fifth.
In addition to the winner, runner-ups, and team prizes, other awards included:
The Louise Geary Layne Courtesy Award sponsored by David Patton. This award, started in 2007, is presented in memory of Layne, of Palmer, whose curtesy and compassion were an inspiration to all who knew her. This year’s winner was Ethan Meeks, SMES.
In 2008, Patton also instituted the Y.B. Ashby Teamwork Award honoring a student’s ability to work toward a common goal. The award is meant to foster cooperation and teamwork among spelling bee participants. Winning the award this year was Jack Vale, TCES.
The 7th Annual Faithful Attendance Award, again sponsored by Patton, was created with the purpose of promoting faithful school attendance. To be eligible, a student must be a spelling bee contestant, have no tardies or early checkouts, and have missed no days up to a predetermined date. This year, the honor was presented to Grace Spicer, NES.
This was the eighth year a monetary award has been presented by Tressie Jo Kennedy, in memory of her daughter Shannon Brown. Brown served as a spelling bee coach for two Grundy County schools. The award was presented to Clare Fontenelle, TCES.
For the fourth year, Haskell Meadows presented collectible coins to students placing first through third: Clare Fontenelle, TCES; Ethan Meeks, SMES; and D.J. Johnson, CES.
For the first time, an award was presented to a Spelling Bee Coach of the Year. Belinda Ivins, TCES, was honored with this award.
The spelling bee was opened with words from Dr. David Dickerson, Supervisor of Elementary Education; a prayer by Eric Andrews, SMES; and the Pledge of allegiance led by Grace Spicer, NES.
Judges for this year’s contest were Samantha Stevens, Supervisor of Secondary Education; Karen Gilliam, Special Education Supervisor; and Mandy Phillips, Grundy County Herald publisher.