After Hope Academy of Public Service student Mika Brown went four for four as Hempstead County Spelling Bee champ to retire in the ninth grade, HAPS fifth grade student Addison McEuen stepped up this year and won the county title Jan. 16.
McCuen and second place winner Sophy Tyson, Garrett Memorial Christian School eighth grader, fought it out in a championship that lasted 22 rounds in the contest at the Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative building on the University of Arkansas-Hope campus.
McEuen will represent Hempstead County at the state spelling bee at Central Baptist College in Conway on March 2. Tyson will be the alternate should McEuen not be able to compete.
Winners by grade in the county competition were:
Fourth grade – Juan Arroyo, Clinton Primary School, first place; Trevor Gibson, Spring Hill Elementary School, second place.
Fifth grade – Addison McEuen, HAPS, first place; Maggie Prejean, Garrett, second place.
Sixth grade – Padrin Davis, Beryl Henry Elementary School, first place; Aidan McConnell, BHE, second place.
Seventh grade – Jarett Cox, Spring Hill, first place; Bailey Hayes, Garrett, second place.
Eighth grade – Sophy Tyson, Garrett, first place; Isabella Lewallen, Spring Hill, second place.
The contest was one of the lengthiest in its history, with the seventh grade preliminaries lasting 19 rounds and the eighth grade competition lasting 22 rounds, prior to the 22-round championship.
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 Company. The Little Rock newspaper has sponsored the state contest since 1992.
The contest is limited to students under age 16 who have not advanced beyond the eighth grade.