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Northside’s Joseph Arkin best speller

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Colleton’s Spelling Bee finals for grades 5-8 were held Tuesday night Jan. 14 at the Colleton County Middle School mini-auditorium.

At 6 p.m., nervous middle schoolers gathered, ready to spell to the best of their ability and hopefully proceed to the finals in the state competition sponsored by The Post and Courier.

The 2020 winner of the spelling bee was Joseph Arkin from Northside Elementary. In second place was Chace Jones of Forest Hills Elementary, and third place went to Aaliyah Jaramillo of Colleton County Middle School.

Presenting the awards were Dr. Franklin Foster, CCSO District superintendent; Jessica Williams, assistant superintendent; and Cliff Warren, assistant superintendent.

In March, these three students will go on to the regional competition in Charleston.

Each separate school containing a 5-8th grade had individual spelling bees. First and second place winners, along with one alternate, were chosen and to prepare for the Colleton Final Spelling Bee competition.

Spelling Bee Coordinator Kristie Long made sure that all of the schools participated. “The children have been working so hard to get ready for this competition,” said Long. “They worked for 4-5 weeks with their parents and teachers to prepare for this. Students had spelling bees in their classrooms first. The winners went to a school spelling bee, with each grade level represented. Those winners then come together for the district competition. We follow the Scripps National Spelling Bee Program, and all of this is sponsored by The Post and Courier,” said Long.

Winners of the school spelling bees were:

Tatiyanna Gillespie and Lillianna Nava from Bells Elementary; Aaliyah Jaramillo and Alejandro Marin from Colleton County Middle School; Alejandro Marin and Sema’J Bennett from Cottageville Elementary; Millie Drew and Chace Jones from Forest Hills Elementary; Ahziyah Mikel, Mary Preston, and Sydney Pedigo from Hendersonville Elementary; and Joseph Arkin and Jaylyn Gates from Northside Elementary.

Spelling bee alternates were Braelyn Hall of Bells Elementary, Lily Kilpatrick of Colleton Middle, Jahk’Nyiah White of Cottageville Elementary, Chase Braddock of Forest Hills Elementary, Lillian Owens of Hendersonville Elementary and Brooke Dye of Northside Elementary.

School coordinators were Melissa Hinton from Bells Elementary, Robin Mabry from Colleton Middle, Cotrina White from Cottageville Elementary, Allie Walker from Forest Hills Elementary, Sonia Inabinett from Hendersonville Elementary, and Stacy Kennedy from Northside Elementary.

Celeste Stone, media specialist at Colleton Middle, was the pronouncer. Judges were Mary Jo Fox, technology instructional facilitator for Colleton School District; William Bowman, school board member; and Barbara Kulisek, principal, Black Street Early Childhood Center. Refreshments were provided by the Office of Student Nutrition.

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