FOSTER – Boone County Schools spelling bee champion Jocelynn Cooper had three chances to win the annual competition and on the third try she accomplished her goal by spelling the word “Buccaneer.”
“When it got down to just two of us, I got a little nervous,” Cooper said following the competition. “I had no idea I would get this far, but I am very happy about winning.”
Cooper, 13, of Whitesville, is an eighth-grade student at Sherman Junior High School. She is the daughter of Nora Cooper and Dexter Bates.
Cooper thanked her teachers from Whitesville Elementary and Sherman Junior High schools and also gave a shout out to the rock band Aerosmith’s lead singer Steven Tyler.
“His songs and music inspire and motivate me to do my best no matter how hard I try or even if I fail,” she said.
Moving on with Cooper to regional competition is runner-up Ethan Curry, an eighth-grade student from Madison Middle School.
Curry, 14, of Ottawa, is the son of John and Melinda Curry.
“I was a nervous wreck towards the end of the competition, but that’s the fun of the event,” he said. “Nerves are part of the fun in these educational competitions.”
Curry thanked his teacher Christy Blankenship and his parents.
Five schools throughout the county were represented by 27 students in grades fifth through eighth. Those students were selected from a pool of 80 students after all students took a 100 question test and wrote an essay on why it is still important to be a good quality speller, said Boone County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lisa Beck.
“With today’s modern technology, computers, Facebook and text messages, it remains very important that students understanding that spelling words correctly is so important to their educations and their futures,” Beck said.
Cooper and Curry will advance to the regional competition on March 22 at Capital High School in Charleston.
All 27 students that participated in the spelling bee competition were given the latest edition of the Webster’s Dictionary. Also, four students from each grade were presented trophies for best written test winners. Those were Madilyn Asbury, a fifth-grade student from Jeffrey-Spencer Elementary School; Sydney Brown, a sixth-grade student from Madison Middle School; Jordan Kish, a seventh-grade student from Madison Middle School; and Ryan Miller, an eighth-grade student from Madison Middle School.
Superintendent John Hudson read the words and also presented the trophies and books, along with Boone County Board of Education President Mark Sumpter. The contest was judged by Rita Church, Gary Sumpter and Phyllis Turley, all former Boone County educators.