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Spelling Bee Champ
Layla Martin wins county competition with 'independence'
W 020612 SPELLING BEE 01
Nevils Elementary School fifth grader Layla Martin, 11, is all smiles after spelling the word "independence" to win Monday's Bulloch County Schools Annual Spelling Bee at Julia P. Bryant Elementary School. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Layla Martin, a fifth-grade student at Nevils Elementary School, is the winner of the 2012 Bulloch County Schools Annual Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Bulloch County Association of Educators (BCAE).  
    Martin correctly spelled, “breathe,” that was misspelled by her remaining opponent, Gabrielle Pendleton, a sixth grader from Southeast Bulloch Middle School. She then spelled “independence” to claim the win.
        “I didn’t think I would win,” said Martin, but the excited youngster was ready to take her trophy to school today and tell everyone.  
    “I practiced with 20 words a day for an hour,” said Martin, who is the daughter of Charlie and Christina Martin of Nevils.  “I lost my very first spelling bee when I was in fourth grade, but tonight, I won.”
    Monday’s event was held at Julia P. Bryant Elementary School with four boys and nine girls from the school system’s 13 elementary and middle schools.  The fourth through eighth grade students pondered and spelled words announced by Dr. Carolyn Hobbs, a retired professor from Georgia Southern University’s College of Education.  
    Martin will advance to the District 8 Spelling Bee Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Waycross College Auditorium. The District 8 winner advances to state, and that winner will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 27 through June 1.
    BCAE members Sherry Canty, Marie Woodward, Joanne Newland and Chianti Culver coordinated the event and presented trophies to each school’s Spelling Bee representative: Tommy Patrick, fourth grade, Brooklet Elementary School; Sarah Harvey, fifth grade, Julia P. Bryant Elementary School; Angela Eason, fifth grade, Langston Chapel Elementary School;  Tyree Smiley, eighth grade, Langston Chapel Middle School; Jada Scott, fourth grade, Mattie Lively Elementary School; Alyssa Bridgewater, fifth grade, Mill Creek Elementary School; Felton Thomas, fourth grade, Portal Elementary School; Brendon Olson, sixth grade, Portal Middle High School; Alex Allen, fifth grade, Sallie Zetterower Elementary School; Jamie Hackle, fourth grade, Stilson Elementary School; and Taylor Smith, seventh grade, William James Middle School.  
    “All of these students did an amazing job,” said BCAE Co-President Marie Woodward.

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