A local youth brought pride to herself and her school district recently as she was named the 2013 Dunklin County Spelling Bee Champion.
Kara Newton, of Kennett Middle School, won first place and was declared the champion of the annual event. Newton received a "Champion Certificate," a $50 cash prize, a $10 Walmart gift card, and will now compete in the Mid- South Spelling Bee in Memphis, Tenn., on March 2, 2013. Brandon Sessums of Southland was the runner-up and received the second place trophy along with a certificate of appreciation, a $30 cash prize and a $10 Walmart gift card. Lakota Matney of Clarkton, who earned third place received a third place trophy, a certificate of appreciation, and a $20 cash prize.
All of the participants in the contest received a certificate of appreciation and a $10 Walmart gift card.
Each year the Dunklin County Spelling Contest and Math Contest is hosted annually by a different school in the county. The Dunklin County Spelling Bee, hosted by the Kennett School District this year was directed by Kennett Middle School Librarian, Kim Johnson. Anne Moyer, President, has worked on coordinating the events with Johnson since September of 2012. The events were held at the Slicer Street Church of Christ Activity Building in Kennett on January 11. Students from seven different schools in Dunklin County competed in fifth and sixth grade Math, fifth and sixth grade Spelling, and seventh and eighth-grade Math.
Participants included students from Kennett, Senath-Hornersville, Campbell, Southland, Holcomb, Malden, and Clarkton school districts.
The fifth and sixth-grade spelling contest participants included:
* From Kennett: Kara Newton, Olivia Bolton and Alternate, Jonathan Jain.
* From Southland: Monica Rodriguez, Katie Nipper.
* From Senath: Mackenzie Bell, Macey Worrell and Alternate, Jacob Cross.
* From Clarkton: Sherydan Emory, Alicesyn Hill, and Alternate McKenzie Taylor.
* From Campbell: Elizabeth Steward, Cade Foriester and Alternate, Hanah Farmer.
* From Malden: Abby Proffer, Michael "Quin" McClinton, and Alternate, Julie Borshnack.
* From Holcomb: Abbie Coronado, Kayla Reeves and Alternate, Alexis Moore.
The winners were: first place, Kara Newton of Kennett; second place, Cade Foriester of Campbell; and third place, Abby Proffer of Malden.
According to Kim Johnson, Kennett Middle School librarian and the event planner, Kara Newton, winner of the fifth and sixth-grade spelling contest, went on to participate in the Dunklin County Spelling Bee, which was held January 18 at 9:30 a.m., at the Slicer Street Church of Christ Activity Building.
The fifth and sixth-grade math contest participants included:
* From Kennett: Lily Figgins, Hunter Timmons, and Alternate, Marquesha Mister.
* From Southland: Jose Andrade and Morgan McMinn.
* From Senath: Marlen Garza, Jacob Anderson, and Alternate, Jace King.
* From Clarkton: McKenzie Taylor, Kayla Gentry, and Alternate, Chad Stallings.
* From Campbell: Catera Walker, Claire Parker, and Alternate, Kyle Benson.
* From Malden: Cymber Arnold, Tye Miller and Alternate, Hayden McMillion.
* From Holcomb: Addison Burke, Hannah Lindsey and Alternate; John (JC) Kemp.
The winners were: first place, Cymber Arnold of Malden; second place, Tye Miller of Malden; and third place, Lily Figgins of Kennett.
The seventh and eighth-grade math contestants included:
* From Kennett: Bradley Crow, Hannah Criswell, and Alternate, Levi Petix.
* From Southland: Julia Gibson and Kayley Copeland.
* From Senath: John Kyle Cook, Maggie Crossno, and Alternate, Skyler Miller.
* From Clarkton: Lakota Matney, Curtis Coleman, and Alternates, Jerell Evans and Ke'Aira Christion.
* From Campbell: Anna Ockel, Jordan Cochran and Alternate, Katy Thompson.
* From Malden: Patrick Matthews, Dillon Mize, and Alternate, Jordan Mitchell.
* From Holcomb: Zach Bridges, Alec McDaniel, and Alternate Madison Harrison.
The winners were: first place, Bradley Crow of Kennett; second place, Hannah Criswell of Kennett; and third place, Zach Bridges of Holcomb.
Johnson said things went very smoothly and according to schedule.
This year's contest winners each received a trophy. All participants received an Award Participation Certificate.
The seventh and eighth-grade spelling bee participants included:
* From Kennett: Hannah Mowrer and Alternate, Khalil Taylor.
* From Southland: Brandon Sessums and Alternate, Desiree Lancaster.
* From Senath: Graylin Kelly and Alternate, Lillie Speaks.
* From Clarkton: Jarek Joyner and Alternate, Lakota Matney.
* From Campbell: Katy Thompson and Alternate, Riley Peters.
* From Malden: La'Tomminikkia Gates and Alternate, Case McCormick.
* From Holcomb: Shelby Ryan and Alternate, Alec McDaniel.
In a written statement, Kennett Middle School Principal, Ward H. Billings said he applauded the efforts of all those involved.
"On behalf of the Dunklin County Principals who had students involved in the 2012-2013 Dunklin County Spelling and Math Contests, we applaud the efforts of all of the participants, and we commend those students who placed in this year's competition," Billings said. "To have finished in first, second, or third place in a county competition, and certainly one of this nature, is a very significant accomplishment which will remain one of the highlights of their school career."
Billings said this year's participants did "an excellent job of representing their respective schools and communities," and the administrators appreciated "not only the intellectual aptitude, efforts and performance of these students, but also appreciate the various contributions they make to the overall school environment as outstanding school citizens."
Billings continued, thanking Johnson for coordinating the event, Slicer Street Church of Christ for use of their facilities, and all those "who helped to make this year's competition a very successful event."
Johnson expressed her gratitude towards Spencer Furby, the Pulpit Minister of Slicer Street Church of Christ for being the pronouncer and providing the activity building for the Spelling Bee, to the Bootheel Unit of Retired Teachers and Public Personnel who assisted her in hosting the Spelling Bee, Anne Moyer, president of BRTA, helped to plan and coordinate the event with judges and volunteers in the kitchen and at the registration table; Marc Blankenship, Kennett Police Department, for providing security; Billings, Principal of Kennett Middle School and Connie Oldsen, assistant principal of Kennett Middle School, for providing her the opportunity to plan and coordinate this very worthwhile event; her husband, Rick Johnson, and daughter, Amy Johnson for all their help; and Walmart of Kennett, Steve Foster, for providing $10 WalMart Gift Cards to all 15 participants.