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Liberty, Indian Creek students top finishers in Newton schools Spelling Bee
Spelling Bee winners 2023
From left are Indian Creek Middle School eighth-grader Kenneth Jackson, who was runner-up, and Liberty Middle School eighth-grader An Hoang, winner of the 2023 Newton County School System District Spelling Bee. - photo by Courtesy of Newton County School System

COVINGTON, Ga. — It took multiple rounds but, in the end, Liberty Middle School eighth-grader An Hoang emerged victorious in the Newton County School System Spelling Bee. 

She now holds bragging rights as the district’s "super speller," a news release stated. 

Hoang and Indian Creek Middle School eighth-grader Kenneth Jackson battled for the championship trophy for multiple rounds before Jackson slipped on the word, “ballast.” Hoang ultimately claimed the top prize after successfully spelling, “mercenary” and then “benighted.”

Hoang said she was relieved to win the NCSS Bee, which was held Friday at Porter Performing Arts Center in Covington.

“I thought we’d get a bit farther, so I practiced on the more difficult words,” she said. “I was just worried I would mess up due to nerves.”

According to Hoang, her mother helped her study the spelling words at home and she also took time during her first periods at school to study in preparation for the district spelling bee.

As the Newton County School System 2023 Spelling Bee champion, Hoang will now represent the district at the Region 5 Spelling Bee on Feb. 25 at Edwards Middle School in Conyers.

"I’m very nervous but excited to be going to the regional bee,” she said. “I’ll be doing a lot more studying!”

Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of the Newton County School System, said, “I am extremely proud of both An and Kenneth."

“They did a remarkable job and had the audience on the edge of their seats as they battled it out for the championship," Fuhrey said. 

"I know An will represent Liberty Middle School and the Newton County School System very well in the district competition. She’s a smart young lady and it wouldn’t surprise me if she brought home another trophy!”