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Eighth-grader wins Gainesville City Schools spelling bee
Centennial fifth-grader wins elementary bee
Gainesville Middle School student Leita Williams concentrates on a word during the middle school spelling bee Thursday. - photo by Tom Reed

After 10 long, word-filled rounds, Gainesville Middle School eighth-grader Ally Kimpling was challenged to correctly spell “haughtiness” and claim the title of top speller at the Gainesville City Schools middle school spelling bee on Thursday.

By the end of the school day, she walked away with the win.

Kimpling said that her love for reading probably contributes to her knack for spelling.

“I like to read, and that’s not exactly the same thing as spelling, but it helps with it I guess,” Kimpling said.

Although her favorite books are from the Harry Potter series, Kimpling said she has also read The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

She and the bee runner-up, Gainesville Middle School seventh-grader Saloum Ceesay, explained although they didn’t spend time studying words before the competition, they weren’t strangers to spelling bees. Kimpling competed in her fifth-grade bee and Ceesay in his fourth-grade bee.

“I’ve just always been pretty good at spelling words, so it’s a little easier for me,” said Ceesay.

Kimpling and Ceesay were among the top 28 spellers out of 1,600 Gainesville City Schools students who worked to compete in Thursday’s systemwide spelling bee.

“You did a lot to get this far, so you’re all winners in my book,” Shelby Day, Gainesville Middle School’s media specialist and spelling bee coordinator, told contestants.

Gainesville Middle School also hosted the Gainesville City Schools elementary spelling bee Thursday morning, which lasted 14 rounds.

Lance Robinson, a fifth-grader at Centennial Arts Academy, took first place with the word “renewal,” and Centennial Arts Academy fourth-grader Holden Casey was runner-up.

In February, Kimpling will join spelling bee winners from 17 other Georgia school systems, including Hall County representatives William Usrey of North Hall Middle School and Evan Zimmerman of Riverbend Elementary School, at the District 3 spelling bee in Suwanee. District winners go on to compete at the state level, with the final competition at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.