Emily Wood may have won the Hall County School District spelling bee on Jan. 27 with the word “goatee,” but the word that stumped her the most was “pusillanimous.”
“It means a lack of courage,” the seventh-grade West Hall Middle School student said. Luckily, she forged ahead with the correct spelling en route to wining the bee.
The first-time spelling bee participant will represent the entire district at the districtwide spelling bee on Feb. 28 in Winder. Also joining Wood in representing Hall County at the districtwide bee is first runner-up Terri Hollander, a fifth-grade student at Sardis School of Enrichment.
Wood said she’ll prepare for that event just as she prepared for the county bee — with good old-fashioned studying.
“My dad helped me,” she said, “and my teachers helped me, and some of my friends helped me, too. So they would just read out the words and I’d try to spell it. If I got it wrong, we would highlight it and then we’d come back to it later.”
It should come as no surprise that the spelling champ loves to read — she’s now reading the “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” series — but Wood is also in the school’s chorus program.
She’s even a budding chef.
“I made a dish called road kill,” she said, beginning to laugh over the name. “It’s just ground beef and vegetables all mixed together.”
But over the next few weeks, she’ll focus on preparing for the upcoming district bee.
“I’ll just study and do my best,” Wood said. “I’ll read over the words and practice with them.”