Springwood fifth grader is county spelling bee champion 

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Fifth grader Emaline Swenson might be a good n-o-m-i-n-e-e to win the state-wide spelling bee.

The Springwood student, from West Point, won Tuesday’s Chambers County Spelling Bee with the word “nominee,” allowing her to top runner-up Dimauri Henry. 

The event was held at Lanett High School Auditorium and hosted by W.O. Lance Elementary since a student from that school won last year’s competition.

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Swenson said this was her first time participating in the county spelling bee. However, she did compete in the Alabama Independent School Association, an organization for private schools, and practiced for the competition during her free time.

“I tried not to do too much to stress myself out, but I just looked over the words, and one of my friends helped me practice them,” Swenson said.

From here, she will advance to the state spelling bee competition.

The first alternate for the state competition will be Henry, a W.O. Lance Elementary fifth grader. This was Henry’s first year competing in the competition as well. Henry practiced spelling words with his mother before the competition.

“I was excited to make it here,” Henry said. 

Henry won the school-wide spelling bee to earn the right to represent his school Tuesday. He won this year’s W.O. Lance Elementary school spelling bee with the word “configuration.”

“I was sad I didn’t win, but I was still happy I was runner-up,” Henry said. 

Media Specialist Sharon Gasaway and Principal Donna Bell organized the event at W.O. Lance. 

The field of contestants included every school-wide spelling bee winner and runner-up from across Chambers County. 

The other school-wide winners who competed in the county contest were Cate Allen from Chambers Academy, Darli Smith from Fairfax Elementary School, Maddy Robles from Huguley Elementary School, Kimberly Vykoukalova from Lanett Junior High School and Chance Johnson from W.F. Burns Middle School.

According to Gasaway, the spelling bee participants and their school sponsors went out to a restaurant to eat and get to know each other after the competition.