BRIGHT FUTURE: Sproulls ready to spell victoryPublished 12:02am Thursday, March 14, 2013
By Erin Lowrey
NATCHEZ —A bashful McLaurin Elementary fifth grader will spell her way to Jackson after winning the Natchez-Adams County spelling bee.
Carleigh Sproulls won both her school-wide and Natchez-Adams County spelling bees, and will represent Natchez at the statewide competition in Jackson, Tuesday, March 19.
Carleigh’s grandmother Mary Sproulls could not be more proud.
“We practiced, and practiced and she used me as her guinea pig to call out words,” Mary Sproulls said. “It was fun for me because I learned too.”
Mary said that Carleigh never displayed an excellence in spelling, but always enjoyed reading.
“She once won a school competition for reading 515 books when she was in second grade,” Sproulls said. “She has always been very competitive.”
When Carleigh isn’t spelling her heart out, she shows her competitive edge on the softball field as a pitcher.
Carleigh said she is very nervous about the competition, but ultimately wants to win the state contest so she can travel to the nationwide spelling bee in Washington, D.C.
“If I make it to Washington I would like to meet the president,” Carleigh said. “I studied really hard everyday for an hour, and I think it will pay off.”
Carleigh’s language arts teacher Shawanna Hawkins said she believes Carleigh’s studying has given her an edge over the competition.
“For preparation I would keep a list in my purse and call out words to her wherever we went,” Hawkins said. “During bathroom breaks, the lunch line, whereever we could we practiced.”
Evelyn Geter, who coordinated the school spelling bee, will accompany Carleigh to Jackson.
“There will be kids there who have studied just as hard as her,” Geter said. “She will do well, but we want her to learn the spirit of competition and for her to know how far she has come.”
The school plans to make “Go Team Carleigh” T-shirts in support of her journey Hawkins said.
The statewide competition will air live on the Mississippi Public Broadcasting stations at 10 a.m. on channel seven Tuesday.
Twenty-nine students from around the state will in the statewide contest. Mary Sproulls wants the community to support Carleigh in her endeavors.
“She is expected to do her best but she needs the entire city of Natchez to support her because she is nervous,” Sproulls said. “No matter what, we are proud of her.”