With tears beginning to form, the parents of Coosa Middle School eighth-grader Taylor Wilson embraced their son after the applause that came with his winning the Floyd County Schools Spelling Bee had faded.
The annual spelling bee had the 11 school winners and alternates from each of the Floyd County elementary and middle schools challenge each other for the district crown Thursday morning at the Floyd County Schools central office.
In the final round, between Wilson and Armuchee Elementary fifth-grader Abbie Carson, Wilson correctly spelled “intimation” and “voluminous” to win. As the three judges — Sherry Childs, Allison Espy and Apryl Hawkins — pulled out their green sheets of paper to signify Wilson’s correct spelling of the last word, the crowd started to clap.
“Oh wow, that was tough,” said Kim Owens, the spelling bee coordinator.
With his victory, Wilson moves on to the Region 1 spelling bee, which will be held at the Georgia Highlands College Lakeview Building on Feb. 24. Carson will serve as an alternate.
Two extra rounds had to take place to decide the second finalist, after Carson was the only student out of five to correctly spell her word in the second round — Wilson was tripped up by “linoleum,” trading the “e” for an “i.” The first of these finalist-setting rounds knocked out one of the remaining four. Then Wilson emerged as the second finalist in the next round by being the only one to correctly spell their word.
Carson and Wilson went back and forth with misspellings of words like “vociferous,” “generalissimo,” “strenuous,” “Sherpa,” and “crematoria.” But Wilson then jumped on the opportunity with correct spellings of two straight words.
It wasn’t Wilson’s first spelling bee, he said, as he has participated in a few since fourth-grade. And, in readying himself for the district bee, he told his mom, Lovietta Williams, he was not getting his hopes up that he would win, so that if he didn’t, he wouldn’t get mad.
Williams — who attended the bee with Wilson’s father, Billy Wilson — said it was hard for her to breath as Barbara Neslin, an English and language arts specialist with the system, told her son the final word, adding that her hands were shaking.
In thinking about the next round, Wilson said he is nervous, knowing the competition is only going to get tougher. He was fine with enjoying this victory for now.