Just when it seemed the Area 2 spelling bee was going to end in a tie after more than 10 rounds between the final two contestants, Tommy Jude Carroll spelled the word “biopsy.”
As soon as the 12-year-old finished spelling the word and the judges gave the nod that it was correct, the audience applaud and congratulated the Our Lady of Peace sixth-grader.
Runner-up Stephen Michael Havasy, 10, a fifth-grader from North Augusta Elementary, and Carroll congratulated each other and shook hands as the bee’s other contestants came onto the stage to be recognized.
The pupils’ handshakes concluded a spelling bee that lasted more than an hour in North Augusta High School’s auditorium on Jan. 11. Two representatives from Our Lady of Peace and each of the Area 2 elementary and middle schools participated in the annual bee.
“It feels good,” Tommy said of the win. “What makes it even better is that I’m an Alabama fan, and it came right after Alabama won the national championship.”
Tommy prepared for the spelling bee by reading books, and he used his knowledge of word origins to spell words correctly. His list of correctly spelled words included: unchangeable, abacus, quotient, jalapeño, decaffeinate, mauve, regurgitate and salami.
However, it was the last word that got him the championship that was “the most frustrating,” he said.
Stephen prepared for the bee by studying a word list.
“I studied them a lot,” he said.
His correctly spelled words included: engineer, ultramarine, legalese, Kelvin, Olympiad, propaganda and cytoplasm.
Tommy and Stephen will participate in the Aiken County spelling bee on Jan. 31 at the URS Center for Performing Arts.
Both said that they planned to use the time until the county bee to continue studying words and learning new ones.
The spelling bee alternate is Joyce Pingol Bernardino, also a pupil at North Augusta Elementary.