HOPE – Sustaining what is becoming a tradition at Hope Academy of Public Service, sixth grade student Addison McEuen repeated as Hempstead County Spelling Bee Champion here Jan. 22.
McEuen won the 14-round final over seventh grade student Gabe Fugitt to continue the dominance of HAPS in the competition on the heels of the four-year championship run of alumnus Mika Brown.
McEuen will represent Hempstead County at the state spelling bee at Cabot High School in Cabot on Feb. 1, and Fugitt will be the county alternate should McEuen not be able to compete.
The county competition at the Southwest Arkansas Educational Cooperative on the University of Arkansas-Hope campus was a spelling slugfest as fourth and sixth grade competition went 14 rounds each, the seventh-grade competition finished after 15 rounds, and fifth and eighth grade contests went five rounds and four rounds, respectively.
Winners by grade in the county competition were:
Fourth grade – Ben Martin, Garrett Memorial Christian School, first place; and Brailyn Almand, Garrett Memorial Christian School, second place.
Fifth grade – Aiden Chambless, Spring Hill Elementary School, first place; and Trevor Gibson, Spring Hill Elementary School, second place.
Sixth grade – Addison McEuen, Hope Academy of Public Service, first place; and, Maleki Briggs, Hope Academy of Public Service, second place.
Seventh grade – Gabe Fugitt, first place; and Cherish Thomas, second place.
Eighth grade – Austin Stone, Spring Hill High School, first place; and Alexis Smith, Hope Academy of Public Service, second place.
The annual competition is sponsored statewide by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in conjunction with the Scripps National Spelling Bee, sponsored by the E. W. Scripps Co. The Little Rock newspaper has sponsored the contest statewide since 1992.
The competition is limited to students under age 16 who have not advanced beyond the eighth grade. Judges for the county contest were Brian Berry, vice chancellor of student services at UAHT; Leslie Savell, computer science specialist at SWAEC; and, Kathryn Dickinson, retired Hope Public Schools educator and current school board member. Chad Morris was contest pronouncer and Kelly Cornelius was contest coordinat