Local students show off spelling skills during fair



The winner of the fifth-grade contest during the 42nd annual Jackson County Spelling Bee on Sunday afternoon was no stranger to the competition.

Braxton Parker finished second as a third-grader in the contest at the Jackson County Fair and wound up sixth a year ago as a fourth-grader.

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He won this year’s spelling bee by spelling the word “atmosphere,” but he said he wasn’t sure about it because he thought he might be hearing the word wrong.

“It was kind of worried, but I went with my gut,” the Seymour-Redding Elementary School student said.

Parker, the son of Ashley and Robert Parker, said he has been practicing his spelling skills recently in hopes of winning this year.

Raymond Stroud finished second among fifth-graders, and Chance Ratliff was third.

Amber Ault, a student at Seymour-Jackson Elementary School and the daughter of Nathan and Jenny Ault, said she was pretty excited about taking home the top prize after finishing second a year ago as a third-grader.

Ault’s mother said finishing second inspired Amber to participate in Spell Bowl at her school.

“So she has been practicing,” Jenny Ault said.

Dayton Smith was second in that contest, followed by Briley Compton.

Hannah Baker, a fourth-grader at Cortland Elementary School and the daughter of Michael and Jamie Baker, finished fourth in that contest.

She was tripped up by the word “opposite.”

“I just forgot how to spell it,” Baker said. “It was fun.”

Jamie Baker said her daughter is the speller in the family.

“It doesn’t run in the family,” Jamie Baker said.

Shalei Brooks, a student at Emerson Elementary School in Seymour, said she was excited about winning the third-grade spelling bee after correctly spelling “strengthen.”

Brooks, however, almost missed showing up, her mother, Shawnee Brooks, said.

“We didn’t realize it was today,” she said.

Shawnee said she and Shalei’s father, Shane, also don’t work with their daughter a lot when it comes to spelling.

“She just reads a lot,” Shawnee said.

Marley Warren was second in the third-grade contest, and Hayden Hall placed third.

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