Pedrinisha Few was as surprised as could be after winning the annual McDuffie County Schools 2008-09 County-Wide Spelling Bee last Thursday.
"It feels wonderful," said Pedrinisha, a seventh grader at Thomson Middle School. "It's neat to know you can spell words you've never even heard of before."
Pedrinisha, the daughter of Juwanna Few, of Thomson, and Andre Harris, of Augusta, was one of 16 contestants vying to become this year's top speller from a field of more than 1,500 eligible students in the McDuffie County School System.
"I love learning new words and how to use them in sentences," said Few, who was presented a championship trophy from Mychele Rhodes, director of the McDuffie County School System Federal Programs. This year's runner-up, Veronica Baldwin, who also attends Thomson Middle School, received a nice trophy, too, from Dr. Rhodes.
Pedrinisha will now go on to represent the McDuffie County School System in the district spelling bee soon in Augusta. She could advance to the National Spelling Bee, which is held every year in Washington, D.C.
The contestants in last week's local spelling bee included:
- Irissa Menendez, Dearing Elem.;
- Cade Brown, Dearing Elem.;
- Jeremy Clark, Norris Elem.;
- Fahren Nipple, Norris Elem.;
- Da'Von Crockett, Norris Elem.;
- Ricky Wade, Norris Elem.;
- Markevious Brown, Norris Elem.;
- John Cody, Thomson Middle School;
- Ry'Teisear Webb, TMS;
- Jalik Ceaser, TMS;
- Tate Cochran, TMS;
- Shequitta Johnson, Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School;
- James Dean, TMJHS; and
- Will Norman, TMJHS.
"These are our best spellers in McDuffie County and we're delighted to have them with us today," said Dr. Rhodes prior to the start of the spelling bee.
Those attending this year's spelling bee included local education administrators, teachers and several parents.
Steve Rhodes, who serves as principal of Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School, which played host to the event, welcomed those who attended. He congratulated all of the contestants, saying they were already "top spellers" and "winners" from their respective schools.
Lynne Entrekin, a realtor in neighboring Columbia County and retired teacher/administrator with the McDuffie County School System, served as the caller.
"I've been doing this for over 15 years," said Mrs. Entrekin. "I love being part of it."
She informed the contestants before the start of the spelling bee that the words she called would come from everywhere. She also emphasized the importance of everyone enjoying themselves and simply having fun.
"It's just a spelling game," added Mrs. Entrekin. "It's always interesting when it gets down to the last two contestants."