By Donna Thornton/News Editor
At the Etowah County Spelling Bee on Jan. 23 at Southside High School, 26 competitors took the stage ready for the worst Webster’s had to offer.
In the final rounds, it was hermano vs. hermano, as 6th-grader Joshua Kelley battled his brother, 5th-grader John Kelley for the right to represent Etowah County in the state spelling bee.
In round after round, Gadsden State Community College instructor and moderator Charles Hill challenged first one brother, then the other: “Misanthropy,” for John; “shrapnel,” for Joshua, followed by “omnipotent” for the younger Kelley and “maestro” for the elder, which garnered a thumbs-up from his brother John.
John faltered on “ampere,” and his brother correctly spelled “cilantro,” then “meticulous” to seal the victory.
Hokes Bluff seventh-grader Jessica McClain and Tristan Brooks, a seventh-grader at Coosa Christian, were both eliminated in Round 6, but then came back to the stage to compete for third place. Jessica prevailed in the spell-off, correctly spelling “falsetto” and “kahuna.”
It was not the first time the county’s had a Kelley to claim the spelling crown. Last year it was Justin Kelly – older brother of Joshua and John, who won the bee.
“That was a dream of his,” mother Amy Kelley said. When asked if he’d taught his brother’s everything they knew about spelling, Kelley said the boys have helped each other, sharing the tricks they use to help them remember the spelling of certain words.
The Kelley brothers are veterans of spelling bees, and avid readers, their mom said – perhaps one of the reasons they do well in spelling.
One of those watching the competition intently during the spelling bee was a fourth Kelley brother: third-grader Jacob, who seems to be anxious for his chance to compete on the county-level.
In the meantime, Joshua will be preparing for the state spelling bee March 9 at Oak Mountain High School.
Each of the top three finishers received trophies, furnished by Regions Bank, presented by Tiffany Scott and Wilbur Masters of Regions Bank.
Those participating in the spelling bee were:
LaDasha Wright, 4th grade, C.A. Donehoo Elementary;
Johny Corona, 6th grade, Carlisle Elementary;
Claire Davidson, 6th grade, Coosa Christian Elementary;
Tristan Brooks, 7th grade, Coosa Christian High;
Kalyn Smith, 8th grade, Emma Sansom Middle;
Lizzy Buchanan, 8th grade, Etowah Middle;
John Kelley, 5th grade, Eura Brown Elementary;
Joshua Kelley, 6th grade, Gadsden Middle;
Treveion Hawkins, 4th grade, George W. Floyd Elementary;
Camden Harris, 6th grade, Glencoe Middle;
Emilie Jerrolds, 6th grade, Highland;
Mason Driskill, 5th grade, Hokes Bluff Elementary;
Jessica McClain, 7th grade, Hokes Bluff Middle;
Micah Brown, 6th grade, Holy Comforter Episcopal Day School;
Coleman Scales, 5th grade, John S. Jones Elementary;
Jan’toria Mitchell, 6th grade, Litchfield Middle;
Amayah Ash, 5th grade, Mitchell Elementary;
J’Leon Turner, 5th grade, Oscar Adams Elementary;
Kelsie Harper, 7th grade, Rainbow Middle;
Alexa Payne, 4th grade, Ray Thompson Elementary;
Whitney Posey, 5th grade, Southside Elementary;
Katherine Yohe, 7th grade, St. James Catholic School;
Richard Mendolina, 5th grade, Striplin Elementary;
Madison Amos, 5th grade, Walnut Park Elementary;
Brett Fouls, 5th grade. Westbrook Christian School;
Brittney Franklin, 8th grade, Westbrook Christian School.