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Sixth grader winner spelling bee for third time

When it comes to spelling bees, “winner” can be spelled F-E-L-I-C-I-T-Y.

Felicity Jenkins, a sixth grader at Symmes Valley Elementary, won the Lawrence County Spelling Bee Wednesday morning. This makes Felicity’s third year winning the competition.

“It makes me pretty nervous because I feel like I have to live up to everyone’s expectations,” Felicity said.

Each year the competition features the top two fourth through eighth grade students from each of the county’s elementary schools.

This year’s competition lasted 32 rounds, with Symmes Valley students claiming both the first and second place prizes.

Alec Steiding, an eighth grade student, lost to Felicity when he misspelled the word “toboggan.”

“She was competition all right,” Alec said. “A lot of the people in the spelling bee were competition.”

While they attend the same school, Felicity said that makes no difference in a competition.

“I could compete against anyone,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. I just want to win.”

Felicity will go on to compete in a regional spelling bee in Columbus in March. Last year the sixth grader tied for fifth place at that competition.

To prepare for the competition, the students were given a list of 1150 possible words. Felicity’s father, Scott Jenkins, has helped his daughter study the words for about an hour each day.

In the upcoming competition in Columbus, there is no word list to study and students can be given any word.

Jenkins said the pair uses a word list taken from books he reads. They have also started learning the roots of different words.

“Ultimately we feel like it’s a gift from God,” Jenkins said. “She’s very gifted. We need to give God the glory for that. She’s a lot of fun.”

Spelling bees help students not only to learn words but also to increase their self-confidence, Theresa Adkins, curriculum supervisor of Lawrence County Educational Service Center, said.

“Well it builds their vocabulary and besides the spelling skills, the oral aspect of getting in front of a crowd is so good for them,” Adkins said.

The winner of the regional spelling bee in Columbus will go on to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Felicity is setting her sights on competing there.

“That’s her goal, to go to D.C. and nationals,” Jenkins said.