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Local middle school student wins county spelling bee
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Local middle school student wins county spelling bee


A local middle school student took home the title champion at the county-wide spelling bee on Monday after a close battle with the runner up.

Burke county Public Schools hosted the 2021 county-wide spelling bee at Patton High School.

Caroline Cox, an eighth-grade student at East Burke Middle School, won first place at the competition. Hailee Miller, a fifth-grade student at Ray Childers Elementary School, was named runner up.

Cox was named champion after multiple intense rounds of spelling against Miller. Cox had to spell two consecutive words correctly to win the title.

The first word Cox spelled correctly was m-a-n-d-i-b-l-e and the word that won her the title was p-a-r-a-l-y-s-i-s.

Students who competed in the spelling bee varied in ages and grade levels. Students from third to eight grade competed in the event.

The following student competed as representatives of their respective school at the spelling bee:

Talon Denton, from Drexel Elementary

Zoey Shannon, from Forest Hill Elementary

Evan Barnett, from George Hildebrand Elementary

Jennifer Velasquez Raymundo, from Glen Alpine Elementary

Gage Wiley, from Hildebran Elementary

Julian Nolasco, from Hillcrest Elementary

James Bean, from Icard Elementary

Lillian McKinney, from Mountain View Elementary

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Lila Hudson from, Mull Elementary

Pyper Stevens, from Oak Hill Elementary

Hailee Miller, from Ray Childers Elementary

Brayden Boyd, from Salem Elementary

Walker Bowman, from Valdese Elementary

Aliyah Edwards, from W.A. Elementary

Caroline Cox, from East Burke Middle School

Maggie Poteat, from Heritage Middle School

Macey Webb, from Liberty Middle School

Maddox Keller, from Table Rock Middle School

Robert Butler, from Walter Johnson Middle School

Jayden Yang, from Burke Virtual Academy

At the end of the spelling bee, each student was presented with a medal and certificate of achievement by BCPS Superintendent Mike Swan and Buddy Armour, chairman of the Burke County Board of Education.

The competition was judged by Kristin Edwards, director of Burke Virtual Academy, Shane Mace, director of exceptional children, and Anne Stephens, former director of secondary education.

Other school board members in attendance included Don Hemstreet and Jane Sohovich.

Debbie Jennings, director of secondary education, Assistant Superintendent Karen Auton, and Brett Wilson, director of elementary education, also attended the event.

Sydni Hall is a staff writer and can be reached at 828-432-8907 or at

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Sydni Hall has been covering education, features and new business for The News Herald since April 2021.

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