Taylor Sayles wins Barrow County Spelling Bee

WINDER - Words such as "chimichanga" and "muu-muu" might be challenging for Taylor Sayles to spell, but she can spell them correctly. Nevertheless, it was the word "implement" that won the 12-year-old the Barrow County Spelling Bee championship Tuesday.

Sayles, a seventh-grader at Haymon Morris Middle School, will be Barrow County's sole competitor in the district spelling bee at Collins Hill High School on Feb. 23. First runner-up Andrew Smith, a student at Russell Middle School, would represent Barrow County should Sayles be unable to participate.

Starting with words like "dairy" and "sarcasm," the morning quickly turned into a nail-biting event for students and their parents. In 10 rounds using 50 words, 10 students were eliminated one by one by words such as "idiom," "physique," "harpsichord" and "obstinate."

"We had hundreds of words ready," said Nelson Strubbe, president of the Barrow County Association of Educators.

Finally, Sayles and Smith stood alone on the floor, competing with the multi-syllable words "obsequious" and "diorama."

The hours of drilling Sayles put in each week with her father, Carl, paid off when she accepted the plaque naming her the best speller in Barrow County for 2008.

"I won for my class, then for the school," Sayles said of her journey to the Barrow County Spelling Bee. "I downloaded a study guide and I studied with my dad about six hours a week for about a month."

No cash prizes were awarded to Sayles or Smith.

Sayles has made straight A's throughout her years of schooling, she said, and named language arts as her favorite class. The spelling bee was a good competition for the girl whose favorite pastimes are reading and playing sports.

If Sayles wins the district bee, she will go to the GAE State Spelling Bee March 21 at Georgia State University in Atlanta. The winner of state will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

SideBar: Spellers

Lauren Mercer, Auburn Elementary; Nick Calhoun, Bethlehem Elementary; Troy Masters, Bramlett Elementary; Trace Perry, County Line Elementary; Robert Goodson, Holsenbeck Elementary; Hunter Wagler, Kennedy Elementary; Trey Allen, Statham Elementary; Tierra Mason, Yargo Elementary; Shaquilla Harrigan, Westside Middle and Jillian Dawson, Winder-Barrow Middle.