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Malachi Brock is the winner of the 2021 Newton County School System Spelling Bee. Brock is a fourth-grader at Porterdale Elementary and an avid reader.

COVINGTON — Porterdale Elementary School student Malachi Brock emerged victorious in Newton County School System’s 2021 District Spelling Bee.

Brock, a fourth-grader, edged out all other NCSS elementary and middle school school-level champions to walk away with Super Speller bragging rights this year and will now represent NCSS in the Regional Spelling Bee on Feb. 27. Iyana Black of Live Oak Elementary School and Aiden Jarvis of South Salem Elementary School tied for second place in the district spelling bee.

“I love to read, so I’m good at spelling,” said Brock after he accepted his winner’s trophy. “I read a lot of books and work on vocabulary.”

“I am so proud of Malachi and his performance in the county spelling bee,” said Clydia Newell, principal of Porterdale Elementary School. “Malachi is a wonderful student. He is a voracious reader, and I am confident that his reading has contributed to his ability in spelling. I am excited that he will be representing Porterdale Elementary School and the Newton County School system in the regional spelling bee.”

According to Dr. Helena Foster, Elementary Curriculum and Instruction specialist for NCSS, this year’ spelling bee was different from previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year’s bee was conducted using an online assessment platform created by Scripps,” explained Foster. “Students were given 50 words to spell. The computer called the words for the students, and they had to type the words correctly within 30 minutes. Students still had the option to ask for a definition and a sentence like they do in the traditional bee. The students moving on to the regional bee will test in the same format. They will be given 30 minutes to spell 50 words, and they will also have a multiple choice vocabulary test.”

Brock seemed unfazed by the prospect of competing in the regional bee.

“I’m going to keep reading and working on my vocabulary,” he said. “I want to keep going all the way!”

“I am so impressed by Malachi’s performance in the district spelling bee,” said Dr. Penny Moseley, director of Elementary Schools for NCSS. “To win the champion’s trophy as a fourth-grader is a remarkable accomplishment. I can’t wait to hear how he fares in the regional bee and look forward to him competing in our district bee for many years to come.”

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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