Students compete in Hardin County spelling bee

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West Hardin eighth-grader advances to Derby Festival contest

By Kelly Cantrall

Noah Vo learned Wednesday about the buzz one can get from the bee.
The Hardin County area spelling bee took place Wednesday at Hardin County Schools’ central office. Nineteen elementary and middle school students participated, from 16 HCS schools, St. James School and North Hardin Christian School.
In the end, Noah, an eighth-grader at West Hardin Middle School, will represent Hardin County March 19 at the Derby Festival Spelling Bee at the PNC Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. The Hardin County bee follows the same rules and uses words provided to them by the Derby Festival bee.
Noah was victorious after, when all other contestants had been eliminated, he correctly spelled “salvageable.” Vo became the West Hardin representative after winning class wide and school wide spelling bees. This was his third time competing in the county bee.
Noah said he didn’t do anything to prepare for the contest. He said he’s always been a good speller.
“I’ve never actually won this level before,” he said.
Noah’s mother, Amy Turner, was in the audience as she watched her son outlast other contestants. She said it makes her nervous to watch him compete.
“Yeah, I was hopeful,” she said, “but it all depends on what word they give you.”
Turner said she was “a little shocked. And really happy for him.”
The runner-up, an alternate for the Derby Festival bee, was Clayton Hester, a fifth-grader at Lakewood Elementary School. Clayton has been to the Hardin County bee once before, and was one of the last to be eliminated then, as well. He was tripped up Wednesday by “gesundheit,” starting out with “g-a” before back-tracking to spell it correctly. But once a contestant has begun to spell the word, he or she can’t change the letters already given.
Clayton said he studied the book he was given at school for competition every night since becoming the Lakewood spelling champion.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “We went through the whole book except for the beginner words.”
Clayton’s mother, Mary Hester, said her son’s love of reading helps him in his spelling, since it seems he has a photographic memory when it comes to words. She also attributes a little bit of his success to genetics.
“I am a good speller, so I think he got part of that from me,” she said, laughing.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.