Grundy County Elementary schools have been participating in the County and Regional Spelling Bee for the past 31 years. Each year, the Chattanooga Times- Free Press sponsors this regional event for area schools to compete and send their finalists to advance to the National Spelling Bee held in Washington, D.C.
The spelling bees begin at the classroom level for grades four through eight and then progress to the school-wide competition. The Grundy County Spelling Bee is held with 30 participants, five finalists representing each of the six elementary schools.
This year, the county Spelling Bee was held on February 6, at Coalmont Elementary. Several rounds of words were given from the pronouncer, Phyllis Lusk, and each speller completed the spelling of the word given to him or her. A double elimination contest, the last four finalists will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee in Chattanooga on Saturday, February 28.
Mr. David Patton, a local citizen and Palmer Town Historian, was recognized as the founder of the following awards: Tenth Annual David Patton Spelling Award, the Ninth Annual Louise Geary Layne Courtesy Award, the Eighth Annual Y.B. Ashby Teamwork Award, and the Fourth Annual Faithful Attendance Award, which recognizes a participant who has perfect attendance. Tressie Jo Kennedy presented an award to the winner in memory of her daughter Shannon Brown. Shannon was a huge supporter and coach of the Spelling Bee at Swiss and Pelham Elementary Schools.
This year Grundy County School Board Member Haskel Meadows presented the winner with a Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Silver Dollar and the second place winner with a Silver American Eagle Coin.
Alexis Rollins-Bennett, a former Grundy County Spelling Bee champion, who went on to compete in the National Spelling Bee, was the distinguished guest speaker. She spoke of the dedication and determination it took for both her and her family to achieve this accomplishment. Alexis encouraged the current participants to set high standards for themselves and work hard to fulfill their goals.
Grundy County Schools are very grateful to David Patton, Tressie Jo Kennedy, Haskel Meadows, Alexis Rollins-Bennett, and all of the local sponsors and supporters of the county Spelling Bee.
The winning school team is awarded the Grundy County Spelling Bee Team Trophy, which rotates from school to school each year. This year the winning school was Swiss Memorial Elementary.
Individual winners: First place – Brayden Kilgore, Swiss Memorial Elementary; Second place – Drema Cox, Tracy City Elementary; Third place – Angel Lang, Swiss Memorial Elementary; Fourth place – Whitney Richardson, North Elementary; Ninth Annual Louise Geary Layne Courtesy Award – Ericka Childers, North Elementary; Eighth Annual Y.B. Ashby Teamwork Award – Katelynn Hammond, Palmer Elementary; and Fourth Annual Faithful Attendance Award – Paul Allen Wise, Palmer Elementary.