Two finalists sparred their way through 22 rounds before Madras Middle School seventh-grader Noah Watson correctly spelled “gestapo” to win the Coweta County School System’s Spelling Bee Thursday.
Arnall Middle School’s Gabriel Lawrence, an eighth-grader, was the runner-up in the annual competition, which lasted through 210 words and 33 rounds. The event, held at the Nixon Center for the Arts, featured 25 students from grades 3-8.
Both Watson ad Lawrence received Kindle Fires from BB&T Bank of Newnan.
All competitors in Thursday’s spelling bee were school-level winners representing each of the Coweta County School System’s 19 elementary and six middle schools. In addition to Watson and Lawrence, they included:
Nathan Benson (Arbor Springs), AJ Salierno (Arnco Sargent), Cameron Jordan (Atkinson), David Cuadrado (Brooks), Dallas Wilkins (Canongate), Jackson Williams (Eastside), Tristan Johnston (Elm Street), Shedrick Larks (Glanton), Shaniyah Johns (Jefferson Parkway), Christopher Delp (Moreland), Laxmi Patel (Newnan Crossing), Dillan Rayfield (Northside), Ava Kelly (Poplar Road), Jackson Meigs (Ruth Hill), Marlie Stanelle (Thomas Crossroads), Nate Blose (Welch), Trent Adams (Western). David Oyekanmi (White Oak), Travis Shearer (Willis Road), Jayden Huck (East Coweta), Cameron Mitchell (Evans), Anja Govednik (Lee) and Andrew Hunter (Smokey Road).
School-level runners-up, who serve as alternates for their schools in the county spelling bee in case their school winners can’t compete, included Cooper Ryan (Arbor Springs), Caleb Worley (Arnco Sargent), Micah Smith (Atkinson), Caleb Dorough (Brooks), Nyah Chopko (Canongate), Sophia Vaccariello (Eastside), Sarah Frank (Elm Street), Isaiah Smith (Glanton), Nygil Fearby (Jefferson Parkway), Paylin Dodson (Moreland), Kyle Kennemur (Newnan Crossing), Cole Hayes (Northside), Carlie Hall (Poplar Road), Evan McGuffey (Ruth Hill), Savannah Chitnis (Thomas Crossroads), Rienna Bridges (Welch), Chloe Johnson (Western), Julie Garcia (White Oak), Andrew Thomas (Willis Road), Logan Stelling (Arnall), Francisco Villasenor (East Coweta), Marco White (Evans), Luke Beam (Lee), Samuel Quinn (Madras) and Curtis Paulk (Smokey Road).
Principal Julie Durrance of Arbor Springs Elementary School, Principal Kiefer Triplett Smokey Road Middle School and Principal Christi Hildebrand of Elm Street Elementary School served as judges.
Dean Jackson, the school system’s public information officer, served as pronouncer. Moreland Principal Melanie Perry and the school system’s curriculum staff organize the spelling bee each year.