Ethan Lee 2020 Spelling Bee

Middle Ridge Elementary School fifth-grader Ethan Lee recently won the Newton County School System’s 2020 Spelling Bee.

COVINGTON — When Middle Ridge Elementary School fifth-grader Ethan Lee stepped on the stage at Porter Performing Arts Center, he was determined not to let history repeat itself.

Last year, on that very same stage, he went down in the first round of the Newton County School System Spelling Bee — misspelling the word, “clique.” A school champion and district competitor once again this year, he was not going to let the same thing happen twice.

He studied the “Words of Champions” list as well as the spelling list provided by his school before the big day. He practiced alone and sometimes had his sister and dad, but most of the time, his mom, call out words for him to spell.

“My library teacher, Ms. (Tina) Rigole, also helped me study words,” said Lee.

All that hard work paid off, because the young boy who went down in the first round last year, ended up being the last student standing after 21 rounds of words at this year’s district spelling bee.

He and Veterans Memorial Middle School student Shaniya DeSears battled it out for multiple rounds before DeSears misspelled the word, “dawdle.” Lee stepped to the microphone and successfully spelled the next two words, “quack” and “cricket” to win the trophy and this year’s bragging rights. He will now represent Newton County School System in the 2020 District Five Regional Spelling Bee at Edwards Middle School in Conyers on Saturday, Feb. 22.

“Spelling is an important skill to have, and I congratulate both Ethan and Shaniya on a job well done,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “They represented their schools very well and should be very proud of their accomplishments. I wish Ethan the very best in the Regional Spelling Bee.”

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