Twenty students from five middle schools engaged in verbal battle Wednesday at the Cowley County spelling bee at Arkansas City Middle School.
The participants, fifth- through eighth-grade students from Arkansas City, Ark City Christian Academy, Dexter, Central of Burden and Winfield, competed for the opportunity to participate in the state spelling bee March 21 at Newman University in Wichita.
Words such as transistor, barrier, pamphlet, lacrosse and haughty quickly reduced the ranks at the county bee Wednesday morning.
Of the three remaining students, Raynae Carter, an eighth-grader at ACMS, quickly seized first place after successfully spelling “sojourner,” leaving fifth-grader David Blackburn of Central of Burden to compete for second place against sixth-grader Paul Do of Winfield.
The battle between the two students was hard fought. Both contenders struggled through a number of difficult words. After 20 minutes, Blackburn finally outlasted his opponent after correctly spelling “chowder.”
Spelling bee coordinator Jhesi Howerton, of ACMS, said the contestants were selected through two prior contests to find the best possible candidates.
“Each school had a qualifying bee and then a city bee,” she said. “Each school brought four finalists to the county meet.”