celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

Spelling comes naturally to some

Winner says, 'I didn't study'

By Bruce Beck

All eyes were on the green cards wielded by the judges at the Randall County Senior Spelling Bee on Tuesday.

If the three judges flashed their green cards after the contestants finished spelling their word, the students would move on. If the judges held up red cards, spellers were eliminated.

Eight times Brittany Lowry spelled her word and waited for the judges to hold up green cards in front of the stage at Greenways Intermediate School. Eight times they did.

And when the Canyon Junior High School eighth-grader spelled "bankruptcy" correctly in the ninth round of the spelling bee, she became the 2008 Randall County Senior Spelling Bee champion, topping 28 other contestants.

"I didn't study," Brittany said. "A lot of the words were vocabulary we got in Miss (Donna) Kuhlman's (eighth-grade English) class. They're fill-in-the-blanks, so you have to know how to spell them."

Second-place finisher Catherine Houseal, a fifth-grader at Canyon Intermediate School, competed in the Senior Bee after she repeated as the Randall County Junior Spelling Bee. Catherine was also the 2006 Potter County Junior Spelling Bee.

"I studied some, but mostly I read a bunch," Catherine said. "I've read most of the fiction books in our house."

In the Randall County Bee, the top-three spellers are recognized. Brandon Boyd, Trevor Macklin and Jacob Jordan faced off in the third-place spell-off.

Six rounds later, Brandon Boyd, an eight-grader at Westover Park Junior High School, claimed the third-place trophy.

Brittany now represents Randall County in the Regional Spelling Bee, scheduled for March 22 at the West Texas A & M University Branding Iron Theatre. The winner at regional goes on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

The top-five spellers in the 2008 Randall County Senior Spelling Bee included:

  • Brittany Lowry, eighth grade, Canyon Junior High School
  • Catherine Houseal, fifth-grade, Canyon Intermediate School
  • Brandon Boyd, eighth grade, Westover Park Intermediate School
  • Trevor Macklin, sixth grade, Canyon Intermediate School
  • Jacob Jordan, sixth grade, Canyon Intermediate School
Winning word: bankruptcy



Definition: (n.) 1. the state or an instance of being bankrupt 2. complete failure; ruin


calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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