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Trinity students compete in state spelling bee

NATCHEZ — The pursuit of spelling is giving two local students the confidence to pursue their dreams of becoming physicians.

Connor Mire, 11, and Presley Davis, 14, both of Trinity Episcopal Day School, recently competed in a state spelling bee in Jackson.

“I just like to spell because it is easy for me,” Mire said. “It felt good to place — I’ve done it two years in a row.”

Mire, a fifth grader, placed fourth out of 27 in 2009 and seventh out of 30 in 2010. Mire said when he gets a word right he looks at his mother, Jennifer Mire, who smiles at him.

“She smiles at me, and is like, ‘Yeah, you got that word right — go be happy,’” he said. “My mom coaches me sometimes, but I usually do it myself.”

Mire said he practices a lot, but it isn’t because he enjoys practicing spelling.

“I do it because I want to do good, but I don’t like it,” he said. “I like taking the tests better.”

The practice does pay off, Mire said, so he said he grudgingly does it.

Both Mire and Davis want to be doctors when they grow up, and Davis said learning how to spell well help.

“It is cool to know how different words are spelled, and I like spelling long words,” Davis said. “I think it would help to know how to spell now, for when I become a doctor.”

While Davis said she didn’t do well on the state level because she was too nervous, she placed first in district at Hazlehurst.

“I practiced for district but didn’t practice for state,” Davis admitted. “And there were a lot of good spellers at state.”

Mistie Ingram said her daughter is a strong science student and that is part of why she wanted to be a doctor. The other reason is because it is a family tradition to go into the medical field.

Davis proudly proclaimed that her uncle was Dr. Kevin Ingram, her mother was a respiratory therapist and her grandmother, Caroline Ingram, is a nurse at Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Mistie Ingram said spelling bees have pushed her daughter to excel.

“At the age where she is now, with her being 14, anything that tends to steer kids in that age range toward education and also boosts confidence is a major plus,” Ingram said.

Taking Latin this semester and learning derivatives has helped Davis improve at spelling, she said.

“I feel very fortunate to have a child who is not only is strongly inclined to success academically, but is a inspiration to all who get to know her,” Ingram said.

Davis said she makes all As and Bs, while Mire said so far he has made all As.

When he is about to go on stage, Mire said he has a ritual.

“I take a deep breath, and let my grandmother pray for me over the phone,” he said.

Davis said she also takes a big breath and then smiles big.

Both students participate in sports — Davis plays on Trinity’s junior varsity basketball team. Mire said he likes playing basketball, football and baseball.

“I like playing sports because it is fun and you get to exercise at the same time,” Mire said. “When you make a good play, the crowd all claps for you.”

Davis said she also participates in ballet and piano. Her father is Joey Davis of New Orleans.

“She has taken piano since she was 5 and began ballet at age 4. She enjoys hunting, fishing, reading, running, swimming and spending time with friends and family,” Ingram said.

Mire’s parents are Blane and Jennifer Mire.

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