Casper Smith, an eighth-grader at Clayton Middle School, correctly spelled “haiku” to win the Johnston County Spelling Bee. With the win, Smith earns a week-long trip to Washington, D.C., and entry into the Scripps National Spelling Bee in June.
The Johnston bee, held at Selma Elementary School, drew 15 students from middle schools from across the county. Students faced many difficult words, including layette, muumuu, autobahn, contiguous, pinafore and catkin.
Raymond Brown, representing the Johnston County Home School Association, placed second after being eliminated in the 11th round. Sarah Fuccello of Southside Christian School finished third, and Michael Ellison of Benson Middle School took fourth place.
The students qualified for the Johnston County Spelling Bee by winning their schools’ bees. Other competitors were Braxton Dewey of Archer Lodge Middle School, Destiny Meder of Cleveland Middle School, Alexis Stanley of Four Oaks Middle School, Sophie Beasley of McGee’s Crossroads Middle School, Rett Adams of Meadow School, Julia Bridges of Neuse Charter School, Campsie Maynor of North Johnston Middle School, Grayson Morgan of Princeton Middle School, Emily Meinert of Riverwood Middle School, Mario Warren of Selma Middle School and Darian Murray of Smithfield Middle School.
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The Johnston County Spelling Bee is sponsored by The News & Observer Publishing Co. The trip to Washington for the winner and his family is made possible by grants from Johnston Health Care, KS Bank, the Clayton Rotary Club, Four Oaks Bank, the YMCA of Johnston County, the Johnston County Economic Development Office, Hudson’s Hardware and the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.