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Gainesville schools bee winners cast a magic spell
Defending champ hardly evanescent; new elementary winner doesnt let words bewilder her
Isaiah Willock walks away dejectedly from the microphone Friday afternoon after misspelling a word during the Gainesville City Schools’ systemwide spelling bee at Gainesville Middle School. Willock, however, did not go down easy as he made it deep into the contest, finishing third.

Cody Brewer is the reigning Gainesville City Schools spelling champion.

Brewer, a sixth-grader at Gainesville Middle School, won the district’s middle school spelling bee Friday with the correct spelling of the word “evanescent.” He was the winner of last year’s Gainesville elementary spelling bee, which was won this year by Leeslie Lopez, fifth-grader at New Holland Core Knowledge Academy.

The middle school runner-up was eighth-grader Noah Mitchell. The elementary runner-up was Moriah Council, fifth-grader from Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy.

Lopez, who won with the correct spelling of the word “bewilder,” said there weren’t any words that seemed particularly difficult to her.

She studied “two or three weeks” in advance to prepare for the bee.

Brewer said he studied a great deal Thursday night with his grandmother, Susan Gilliam.

“Me and my grandma studied a lot last night, and any word I didn’t get right we underlined and did again,” he said.

Lee Ann Pittman, moderator for the bee and Gainesville Middle media specialist, said the students for the elementary bee were very nervous, and she was extremely proud of all those who participated.

“They did an amazing job,” she said.

At the end of the elementary bee, Superintendent Wanda Creel commended the participants and led the parents and guests in a spelling of the word “congratulations.”

The middle school bee included multiple rounds of spelling prompts and a vocabulary round, during which students were given a word and two possible definitions. They had to select the definition that matched the given word.

Brewer will go on to the District Bee for the Georgia Association of Educators state spelling bee March 18 in Winder.

He said he wasn’t expecting to win, because he’s only in the sixth grade.

“I can’t believe I actually won,” he said. “I thought I wouldn’t get this far going up against eighth-graders and seventh-graders. But I’m super happy.”