This year's Rockdale County Spelling Bee champion had a formidable opponent: his little sister.
Jaire Duncan, a seventh grader at Memorial Middle and previous two-time Rockdale Spelling Bee champ, won this year's Bee, but only after a tough battle with his sister Jazz Duncan, a fifth grader at Flat Shoals Elementary. They were the final two left standing after 13 others were eliminated in the bee, which took place Wednesday morning at Edwards Middle School.
The siblings went round after round, with increasingly harder and obscure words. But the word that finally caused one of them to stumble was "delugionous."
After Jazz hesitated and gave a wrong spelling, Jaire jumped in to spell it and also correctly spelled the final word, "epilation."
The judges reportedly only had six words left in their list before they would have run out of words - something that had never happened before.
Their parents, David and Heather Duncan, who also have three other children, said they were extremely proud.
"I just kept thinking, she's giving him a run for his money!" said Heather.
"Their mother and I were having conniptions in the back," said David, as the students were eliminated.
Heather said although she and the children look up words as they read, she was more hands off with preparing them this year. "We gave them iPod touches, so they just look on dictionary.com, click on the pronunciation and that helps them to get the root words."
The siblings also fed off each other competitively, as seen on stage.
"I'll tell you, that's the longest round I ever sat through. Through district, through state, I've never sat through such a long championship round."
Jaire will compete at the regional spelling bee on Saturday, February 27 at Mundy's Mill Middle School in Clayton County. The state competition is March 19 at Georgia State University.