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Posted: January 31, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Spelling bee queens

Caitlin Smith wins bee by spelling 'indiscreet'

Brittany Thomas/

The tension was thick as the two girls volleyed back and forth on the stage of Eastside High School in front of an auditorium of parents, educators and well-wishers Friday morning. In the end, Indian Creek Middle School seventh-grader Caitlin Smith beat out Palmer-Stone fifth-grader Coley Edwards by correctly spelling indiscreet, successfully nabbing the title of Newton County spelling bee champion.

The contestants, made up of fourth through eighth grade students, with an alternate from each of the county's elementary and middle schools, were disqualified one by one. Throughout the seven rounds, students failed to spell words such as "chocolate," "feasible," and "emulate," leaving Smith and Edwards the last two standing.

Both girls said they enjoyed reading and have always had a knack for spelling. And although some of the words were tough, they relied on their abilities to make it through.

"I am just so excited," said Mary Edwards, Coley's grandmother. "They were all so precious and they are all winners. I'm very proud of Coley today but then, I'm always proud of her. She's always been a good speller, but I didn't know until today just how good she was."

Smith's grandfather Jerrell May expressed his excitement over his 13-year-old granddaughter's win, saying "I am always proud of Caitlin and I'm quite excited about her win."

Her father, Stephen Smith, said of his daughter, "she's always been smart — she gets it from her mother."

Caitlin, a Quest student, said that although she has confidence in her spelling abilities, she did get a list of study words and have friends help her prepare by quizzing her prior to the spelling bee.

"I knew a lot of the words," she said. "But there were some — I can't remember now which ones — but some words that I had no clue how to spell. I just had to wing it."

Both Smith and Edwards will go on to the state competition later this year. Smith as a contestant and Edwards as an alternate should Smith be unable to attend.

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