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Jones fifth-grader wins Hall schools spelling bee

POSTED: February 9, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Robin Michener Nathan/The Times

Parker Smith of West Hall Middle looks towards Superintendant Will Schofield after spelling a word in the Hall County Spelling Bee at West Hall Middle on Monday morning.

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OAKWOOD — Jones Elementary School fifth-grader Parker Ramey won the Hall County School System spelling bee Monday morning at West Hall Middle School.

Parker, 10, is the son of Hank and Casey Ramey. Hank Ramey is principal at Jones.

The second-place winner was Jonathan Casas, an eighth-grader at East Hall Middle School.

To win the competition, Ramey correctly spelled "nightingale," which Casas had tripped on, and "aristocracy."

Ramey and Casas will advance to a district competition set for 10 a.m. Feb. 23 at Collins Hill High School in Suwanee.

The competition was fierce among the bee’s 37 participants — one from each of Hall’s 20 elementary schools and the remaining 17 from the district’s six middle schools.

The event lasted nearly two hours and 20 rounds. The event emcee, Superintendent Will Schofield, called out 180 words.

At one point, the event seemed to deadlock among six contestants. "I just want to remind you, I have a board meeting at 8 tonight," Schofield quipped.

Ramey and Casas went back and forth on two words each before Casas missed on nightingale.

"Something was telling me I shouldn’t add an extra ‘g,’ but we all make mistakes," said the 14-year-old, sitting on the front row after the event holding his second-place trophy.

"I tried my best, though, and that’s all that matters."

Blonde-haired Ramey beamed after he was announced the winner and received a standing ovation from the crowd filling West Hall’s media center.

"I’m very happy," he said afterward. "I’ve been here before, so I kind of know what it’s like to go through all this."

His parents stood next to him smiling as he spoke.

"This is such a special ending to a lot of hard work," said his mother.

Ramey knows that tough competition awaits at the district level.

He said he plans to "read a lot and study a lot ... but don’t do so much that I’m busy all the time."

Because of its size, Hall County will send two representatives to the competition. Casas will join Ramey at the event.

"I’ll try my darnedest to do my best at district," Casas said. "Win or lose, doing my best is all that counts."

Third-place winner Kaitlin Inman of South Hall Middle School will go to the district if either Casas or Ramey can’t attend.

All of Monday’s participants received a certificate for competing in the event.


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