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Hall spelling champ places 7th in state bee

POSTED: March 21, 2009 12:08 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Hank Ramey, left, congratulates his son, Parker, for placing seventh Friday at the 48th annual State Spelling Bee held by the Georgia Association of Educators at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Parker spelled six words correctly before missing impetigo, a word meaning a contagious skin infection.

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Parker Ramey proved he could hang with the big dogs Friday at the state championship spelling bee in Atlanta.

The Davis Middle School sixth-grader, a two-time Hall County Spelling Bee Champion, placed seventh in the state bee held at Georgia State University.

He was one of 20 students statewide who competed. Parker was one of five sixth-graders who made it to the state competition.

Hall County schools spokesman Gordon Higgins said Parker gave an impressive performance, correctly spelling words such as panglossian, a word describing someone who is extremely optimistic when facing great hardship.

The county champion misspelled the word impetigo, a contagious skin disease.

"I was a little bit nervous," Parker said. "But I’ve been studying a lot — almost every day 24/7."

Parker is the son of Jones Elementary School Principal Hank Ramey and Casey Ramey. He won the Hall County bee Feb. 10 on the word "renegade." He took home the county trophy last year by spelling "aristocracy."

After Parker the Hall County title, Ramey took second place in the district spelling bee Feb. 28 in Gwinnett County.

Between the district showdown and the state bee, Parker said he studied word lists and medical books to prepare for the stiff competition.

"I’ve been reading books my dad gave me and lists of words to spell from the Internet," he said. "Lists of herbs, lists of diseases, all sorts of things."

Parker said he has his sights set on participating in the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C., before he finishes eighth grade.

"I think I’m still on my way. I still have two more years to compete in spelling bees," he said. "It might not be too hard to get back to where I am and win state if I study a lot."

Hank Ramey said studying for the state bee has become a family affair. Even Parker’s younger brother, Jackson, 7, has helped him review words.

"He wants to be a speller, too," Hank Ramey said. "... We try to find every opportunity to find a word that will stump (Parker). ... I’m real proud of him."

Although Parker placed lucky No. 7 in the state, he said he’s hoping for a better contestant number next year. This year’s wasn’t so lucky.

"I got 13," he said. "Lucky No. 13."



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