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Duncan wins regional bee, moves onto state
Jazz Duncan 2013 IMG 2454
Jazz Duncan at the 2013 Rockdale Spelling Bee - photo by Michelle Kim

Jazz Duncan once again showed her spelling mettle this weekend, winning the regional spelling bee after a grueling 68-round showdown.  She earned a spot at the upcoming state spelling bee and a chance to represent Georgia in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Jazz, a three-time Rockdale bee and regional bee champion, said the words weren't particularly difficult but it did make her nervous when the rounds went on and on. 

"I was scared it was going to go into the difficult words," said the Memorial Middle School eighth grader.

That was reportedly the longest the regional bee had ever gone, said Duncan's mother, Heather. 

"The other girls came ready to win," said Heather Duncan.

But Jazz was even more determined. 

Her chance came after her remaining opponent, Kathleen Mabutin, misspelled "muishond," a weasel-like animal found in southern Africa.

Jazz correctly spelled that word plus the winning word - "Schottische," a folk dance resembling a slow polka - to win the trophy and $200 prize.

She now heads to the Georgia Spelling Bee on March 15, 11 a.m., at Georgia State University–Student Center, Atlanta. The winner of the state bee will go on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

She’s participated at the state bee twice before, coming in fourth two years ago.

This year, she said her goal is to win or to at least place in the top three.

Her older brother Jaire also made a showing twice at the state spelling bee.

Jazz said she studies the lists of words in her free time at school and at home. She rarely encounters them in her everyday reading, but it has helped in her studies. Her mother Heather will also send her words that she’s encountered in her reading. 

As an eighth grader, this will be the last year Jazz can participate in spelling bees.

“I am going to miss that I can't compete,” she said. But, she added, “It'll be kind of relieving that I don't have to study words all the time.”