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Lawrenceville brothers take the top spots in county spelling bee

Staff Photo: John Bohn Neil Patram, 11, left, receives a hug from his older brother Karl Patram, 13, after Karl won the Gwinnett Spelling Bee with Neil finishing as the runner-up. Neil is a student at Brookwood Elementary School and Karl attends Crews Middle School. The spelling bee was held Saturday, at Central Gwinnett High School.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Neil Patram, 11, left, receives a hug from his older brother Karl Patram, 13, after Karl won the Gwinnett Spelling Bee with Neil finishing as the runner-up. Neil is a student at Brookwood Elementary School and Karl attends Crews Middle School. The spelling bee was held Saturday, at Central Gwinnett High School.

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Advancing to District 3 Bee

Neil Patram, Brookwood Elementary School

Duabo Feghabo, Summerour Middle School

Keshav Kalathoor, Hull Middle School

Camden Jones, Creekland Middle School

Rucker Robinson, Level Creek Elementary School

Anaiyah Trenae Edwards, Grace Snell Middle School

Rohan Ramdeholl, North Gwinnett Middle School

Trung Bui, Lilburn Middle School

Anabelle Armah, Twin Rivers Middle School

Samantha Sanchez, Moore Middle School

Karl Patram, Crews Middle School

Nimra Khan, Shiloh Middle School

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Camden Jones, a student at Creekland Middle School, attempts to spell the word electrolysis during the Gwinnett Spelling Bee, held Saturday, at Central Gwinnett High School. Jones exited the spelling bee after misspelling electrolysis.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Karl Patram, 13, a student at Crews Middle School, wins the Gwinnett Spelling Bee by properly spelling the word marionette. Karl's younger brother Neil, 11, a student at Brookwood Elementary School, was the runner-up.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- They may attend separate schools and are different ages, but the winner and runner-up of the 2013 Gwinnett County Spelling Bee have much more in common than you would think -- they're family.

On Saturday morning, brothers Karl and Neil Patram took home the top two positions in Central Gwinnett High School's theater.

"When we were doing the written spelling bee, I said, 'I won't make it or he won't make it, or neither of us will make it, and if we do, what are the chances we'll be the last two on stage?'" 13-year-old Karl said, who clinched first place.

His 11-year-old brother and runner-up Neil added, "I knew that he would win though. He's much better than I am."

But the boys had to make it to the stage first.

At 8:30 a.m., 88 elementary and middle school students tackled the written spelling contest. After grading the test, 12 finalists were called to the stage -- two with perfect scores -- for the oral portion of the day.

Round after round, students worked through words like planetarium, herbaceous and transmogrify.

Each contestant had their own way of breaking the words. Camden Jones of Creekland Middle School wrote the letters on his hand with his index finger. Trung Bui of Lilburn Middle School closed his eyes and scribbled the characters in the air. Rohan Ramdeholl of North Gwinnett Middle School needed the definition, the origin, additional pronunciations of the word as well as it being used in a sentence.

By Round 8, the competition was whittled down to the Patrams and Anabelle Armah of Twin Rivers Middle School. She was shortly eliminated when misspelling bradycardia.

Now down to the final two, announcer Sonja Fox gave Neil Patram his word. Extraneous.

E-X-T-R-A-N-I-O-U-S. Incorrect.

Karl took a stab at the word and got it right. Next word up to bat was marionette. Also correct.

After being announced the winner, the elder Patram ran back to his brother and gave him a hug and kiss on the head.

The GCPS Bee, which was sponsored by the Daily Post, gave prizes to the winners. Karl Patram went home with a trophy and $200 in cash.

These bees may seem a little old school to some people, but the schools are proud to be a part of the competition.

"(Spelling bees are) something to celebrate Gwinnett County's curriculum," said Louis Mair with the Gwinnett County Association of Educators. "The kids did excellent. I'm always impressed each and every year, especially that we had a fifth grader (competing) this year."

The 12 students who competed in the oral portion of the bee will move on to represent GCPS in the District 3 Bee on Feb. 23 at North Gwinnett High School.

Last year, Duluth homeschooler Lexine Feng, 9, made it all the way to the state spelling bee, winning third place in the Georgia Association of Educators' state qualifier for the Scripps National Spelling bee. She and fellow Gwinnettian Kelsey Dabrowski, 14, of Berkmar Middle battled it out with 18 others participating in the bee.