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Lee County grade school students participate in annual spelling bee

By Anna-Claire Terry
Staff Writer

The Lee County Spelling Bee was hosted by Auburn City schools at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts last Friday. Lee County, as well as Opelika and Auburn City schools, were represented at the spelling bee.
Participants from Opelika included: Leah Bales; Morris Avenue Intermediate, Orah Preston; Northside Intermediate, Leighanna Howell; Opelika Middle School, Jordan Nolen, West Forest Intermediate; and Juliette Nell, Trinity Christian.
Lee County participants were: Markayla Morgan, East Smiths Station Elementary; Timothy Roberson, West Smiths Station Elementary; Leslie Alcantara, South Smiths Station Elementary; Emily Moore, Beulah Elementary; Jacob Johnson, Wacoochee Elementary; and Trinity Siegert, Smiths Station Junior High.
Ashleigh Oliver represented Lee Scott Academy.
Participants from Auburn included Victor Sutton, Drake Elementary; Walker Zapp, Ogletree Elementary; John Soriano; Pick Elementary; Jonathan Parten, Wrights Mill Road Elementary; Shivani Babu, Yarbrough Elementary; and Jane Fan, Auburn Junior High.
Spelling bee adviser for Opelika’s West Forest Intermediate School Barbara Kozak said students spend months preparing and practicing for the spelling bee. Some of her students practiced being on stage to become acclimated to speaking in front of large groups of people.
According to Kozak, spelling bees enhance the education of a child because they have the opportunity to master spelling, study language patterns and expand their vocabulary.
“It broadens their horizons, and one of the main things it does is give them confidence,” Kozak said. “Jordan (West Forest participant) told me that she really felt good about herself for speaking in front of that many people.”
Kozak also said participating in events like spelling bees teaches students to set goals for themselves.
Each class has its own spelling bee, and those winners participate in the school spelling bee. The winner of the school bee goes on to compete the county bee.  County winners will compete at the state level and, eventually, nationally.
Auburn City Schools swept the Lee County Spelling Bee with Victor Sutton from Drake Elementary School winning the event. Jane Fan from Auburn Junior High School was runner-up, and John Soriano from Pick Elementary was second runner-up.

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