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Rockdale student takes regional Spelling Bee again; Duncan heads to state Spelling Bee in March

Memorial Middle School eighth-grader Jazz Duncan won the regional Spelling Bee over the weekend, giving her the opportunity to compete at the state level for the third time next month. The state Spelling Bee will be held March 15 at Georgia State University. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

Memorial Middle School eighth-grader Jazz Duncan won the regional Spelling Bee over the weekend, giving her the opportunity to compete at the state level for the third time next month. The state Spelling Bee will be held March 15 at Georgia State University. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

CONYERS -- The Duncan family will travel to Atlanta next month to cheer on one of their own for the fifth time in the state Spelling Bee.

Jazz Duncan, an eighth-grader from Memorial Middle School, won the regional bee over the weekend, earning her another chance to compete at the state level. She's competed at the state level for the past two years, making it to Round 11 last year and placing fourth the prior year. Her brother Jaire competed at the state level for two years before that.

"I'm very excited," she said Tuesday.

She took first place after 68 rounds at Mundy's Mill Middle School in Clayton County on Saturday by spelling "muishond" correctly after the runnerup incorrectly spelled it and then spelling "schottische" for the win.

"It was amazing," said her mother Heather Duncan.

And it was much shorter than the Rockdale County Spelling Bee earlier this month that lasted just three rounds.

In the region bee, Duncan spelled words like "streusel," "echt," "roodebok," "ersatz," "perestroika" and "Baedeker."

"It wasn't hard; it was just very long," she said. "I thought it was going to last all day."

She said she knew the longer the bee went, the harder the words would get.

"The longer it is, I get more nervous," she said.

Duncan took home a trophy and $200 for her region win.

"She's awesome and has a wonderful spirit and heart," said Fatima Cheffen, the language arts coordinator at the school. "She is truly a leader in this school."

The state Spelling Bee is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, March 15, at Georgia State University's Student Center.

Duncan has a goal to place in the Top 3, since she placed fourth when she was in sixth grade.

In the meantime, she and her family continue to study and learn new words.

Comments

ajones12 1 year, 7 months ago

Let's say that you held a golf competition on a course with a thousand different holes. You have 25 golfers, and each one gets a different hole. Let's also say that whenever a golfer does poorly on a particular hole, he's out. Most folks would say, "What kind of crazy golf competition is that????" But that's exactly what the spelling bee is in a nutshell. How many tournaments would Tiger Woods have ever won like that?

Author Neil Steinberg devoted 60 pages in his book "Complete & Utter Failure" to the ills of the spelling bee, even calling it child abuse. Anyway, while I have little respect for the spelling bee itself, I have great respect for the kids who participate. No doubt Miss Duncan has worked extremely hard, and well deserves her victory. Congratulations to her, and I wish her the very best at the state competition next month. Let's hope the officials pick words that the competitors will have a reasonable chance of knowing, not some crazy words that they've never seen before and will never see again the rest of their lives.

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