Conger Elementary School fifth grader Stephanie Hinton claimed the title of “Conger Spelling Bee Champion” Thursday for the third year in a row during the school’s annual contest.
Six students from third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade entered the competition in front of their classmates and parents Thursday in the gym at Conger. Principal Josh Page explained that each student would be read a word and would have to perfectly spell it back to the reader. Any mistakes and the student would be eliminated at the end of the round.
After several rounds of spelling, only five students remained. Within one round of advanced words, the competition was down to two spellers — Hinton and fourth grader Nola Umland.
Ultimately, Hinton correctly spelled her final word and the championship word en route to a three-peat as spelling bee champion.
“It’s pretty good,” Hinton said. “I’m pretty happy.”
She said her victories in the past two years really motivated her.
“I wanted to win,” Hinton said. “It was weird. When I got to the (champion word list) I thought, ‘Uh oh.’ I was nervous.”
Hinton said she’s been practicing for the past few years by writing the words down at home for about 10 minutes each night.
“Any more than (10 minutes) and I think I’ll mess up because I over-studied,” Hinton joked.
Despite her perfect record at Conger, Hinton said she’s not sure if she’s going to try and compete next year during the Dempsey version of the competition.
“There will be more people,” Hinton said before explaining the increased competition makes her think she wouldn’t have a chance of winning.
Hinton added she’s glad she won the competition, but she was quick to add she “felt bad” for her friends.
Page said Hinton will have to take a 50 question spelling quiz online to qualify for the Columbus Metropolitan Area Spelling Bee, which will be held at Ohio University on March 21.
Page said he’s proud of Hinton’s victory.
“It’s pretty special to have a student win as a third grader and keep that going for two more years,” he said.
Conger’s spelling bee was the last of the elementary spelling competitions happening in the school district this month. The final spelling competition will be next week at Dempsey Middle School.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.