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Montvale student wins County Spelling Bee

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By Tom Wilmoth

For eight rounds Rhiannon Cire of Montvale Elementary and Brandi Mitchell of Forest Middle School squared off against one another in last Thursday’s Bedford County Spelling Bee.

    Seventeen students from the county’s middle and elementary schools had started in the contest, but by the seventh round it was down to those final two.
    Brandi had the upper hand in the second of those rounds when Rhiannon missed the word “affectation” and she spelled it correctly. To win the Bee, Brandi needed to correctly spell “nonnegotiable.”  She missed, which kept Rhiannon in the contest. She correctly spelled that word. The Bee continued and for the next five rounds both of the two spellers left were flawless in their efforts.
    Rhiannon spelled “hypochondria;” Brandi “propaganda.” Rhiannon spelled “tandoori” (an Indian method of cooking meat or vegetables on a spit in a clay oven); Brandi countered with “decaffeinate.” The girls would correctly spell “mauve,” “euphonious,” “doughtily” and “nepotism,” among others. Rhiannon then correctly spelled “sabotage,” but Brandi missed her chance at “Mesopotamian.” Rhiannon countered by correctly spelling that word and then had to correctly spell “oscillation.”
    She calmly went to the microphone and got it right, letter by letter.
    It was official. Bedford County’s 2010 Spelling Bee Champion was Montvale’s own Rhiannon Cire.
    “I’m happy that I won,” stated Rhiannon. “I was in it last year but I didn’t win.”

    The second time was the charm.
    She studied a lot.
    “It was really hard to win because everybody else was really good,” Rhiannon said.
    Her mom, Sherry, was at the Bee and did much of the studying with her daughter to get ready.
    “It was a lot of fun studying with her,” Sherry stated. “Learning the new words is the fun part.”
    Just to get in the county Bee took a great deal of effort. Montvale Elementary’s school Bee went 12 rounds.
    “We have some excellent spellers in Bedford County,” Sherry said.
    What were some of the difficult words for the other spellers? Those included “writhe,” “zoology,” “convivial” and “quotient.”
    This year’s regional event will be held in Roanoke in March. Between now and then Rhiannon plans to do a lot more studying.
    “She has outstanding study habits anyway, so 99 percent of it is her,” Sherry said of her daughter’s success.
    The Bedford County school winners and school alternates included:
    Bedford Middle School – Tyler Bishop, champion; Hannah Detamore, alternate.
    Forest Middle School — Brandi Mitchell, champion; Jacob Richardson, alternate.
    Staunton River Middle School — Leann Norman, champion; Tristan Gable, alternate.
    Bedford Elementary School — Jaylen Lawrence, champion; Caitlin Soliday, alternate.
    Big Island Elementary School — Emily Tinsley, champion; Gavin Campbell, alternate.
    Body Camp Elementary School — Austin Stump, champion; Carley Karnes, alternate.
    Boonsboro Elementary School — Emily Williams, champion; Ally Waller, alternate.
    Forest Elementary School — Amber Li, champion; Ryan Gonzales, alternate.
    Goodview Elementary School — Nickolas Thomas, champion; Danielle Chumbley, alternate.
    Huddleston Elementary School — Taylor Bowden, champion; Shelby Smith, alternate.
    Moneta Elementary School — Kelly Richardson, champion; Paul Brunell, alternate.
    Montvale Elementary School — Rhiannon Cire, champion; Rachel Rakes, alternate.
    New London Elementary School — Barry Jones, champion; Matthew Keller, alternate.
    Otter River Elementary School — Destiny Martin, champion; Grace Tesi, alternate.
    Stewartsville Elementary School — Amber Pruett, champion; Luke Wyatt, alternate.
    Thaxton Elementary School — Allison Andrews, champion; Dylan Chaffin, alternate.
    Thomas Jefferson Elementary School — Madilyn Tucker, champion; Bailey Tibbs, alternate.