The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

'Attendee' winning word of Curry County bee

 

January 26, 2020

Mathew Brock

Brandon Hughes spells "attendee" to win the Curry County Spelling Bee.

CLOVIS - After nine rounds of duking it out with other students in a free-for-all battle of letters and words, spelling "attendee" was the final challenge eighth-grader Brandon Hughes overcame to become the last man standing in the Curry County Spelling Bee.

Schools across the county sent their best spellers to compete in the bee held in the Clovis Community College Town Hall on Friday. Two students - Brandon and Porter Kidd - earned the opportunity to advance and compete in the 2020 New Mexico Spelling Bee on March 21.

Scott Wetzel and Alan Ryant from the accounting department of Cannon Air Force Base served as judges for the event, while retired educator Carol Nash presented the words.

There were 30 students from public and private schools in Curry County competing this year, but after each round more and more left the stage until only four remained.

Molly Kidd of Mesa Elementary and Funto Akinmurele of Clovis Christian Schools were both eliminated in the seventh round, but went on to compete for third place after the champion was decided.

Funto managed to spell "fondant," while Molly missed the mark spelling "hermitage," earning Funto third.

Brandon, who attends Clovis Christian Schools, faced off against fellow eighth-grader Porter of Gattis Middle School as the final two contestants remaining in the ninth round.

Brandon successfully spelled "cuckoo," while Porter left out an "l" in "syllabus," allowing Brandon to attempt the final word and successfully spell "attendee."

Brandon was awarded a $250 scholarship to CCC and both he and Porter will have the opportunity to compete at the state level in March.

Both said they were glad to be able to compete in an academically oriented event and to advance from their school spelling bees to the countywide bee and now to state.

"I wasn't expecting to do this," Brandon said. "My goal was to at least get to round three since last year I went to round two. To prepare it would've been best to take a month, but I ended up spending three weeks."

"I'm excited to go to state, but it'll be a lot more studying," Porter said.

Director Linda D'Amour said organizing the event can be a little nerve-wracking at times, but she's glad she was able to contribute to the community by organizing the event.

"It gives the kids an opportunity to compete in something academic and be rewarded for their hard work," D'Amour said.

 
 

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