Valley, Bankhead students top spelling bee

Posted 1/25/20

Two students enrolled in the Walker County school system came out on top in the Walker County District Spelling Bee on Friday.

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Valley, Bankhead students top spelling bee


Two students enrolled in the Walker County school system came out on top in the Walker County District Spelling Bee on Friday.

Annaleigh Tubbs of Valley Jr. High School ultimately won the spelling bee, with Lance Bonikowski of Bankhead Middle School placing second. 

There was, however, an overview following the spelling bee that changed the initial results for the first time in the district spelling bee's history. 

"This is the first time that we've had a break (at the end of the event) and a little bit of an issue that we needed to get cleared up," Michelle Howell, director of special education for Walker County Schools, said after returning with the spelling bee's judges and pronouncer. "We want to make sure that we look through all the rules and we review the reporting and make sure we make the right decision before everyone leaves, so that's what we've done."

She continued, "In round four, there was a student that had misspelled a word, had repeated a letter, that was not caught at the time. It was appealed later. We've gone back to look at the rules, talked with the sponsors. The spellers that were affected by that are the two spellers that will finish the spelling bee, and that is Lance Bonikowski and Annaleigh Tubbs. We are going to continue for them to be able to spell out the remainder of the spelling bee."

Prior to the event's continuance, Tubbs had won the spelling bee. Even after the spell-off between Tubbs and Bonikowski, she still secured the win.  

Walker County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joel Hagood congratulated all of the spelling bee participants.

"Let's give all of these children a round of applause. Great job, guys," he said.

Other participants in the spelling bee were Mia Henslee of Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High, Stone Cain of Cordova Elementary, Tayah Tidwell of Curry Elementary, Kendall Mayes of Curry Middle, Lovelee McElrath of Jasper Jr. High, Harley Goldsmith of Lupton Jr. High, Sadie Stewart of Maddox Intermediate, Callie Blankenship of Oakman Middle, Anijah Carter of Parrish Elementary, Kira Vines of Sumiton Elementary and Jamie Coleman of Sumiton Middle.

Teacher sponsors included Sheri Chatham (Bankhead), Regina Laye (Carbon Hill), Mallory Page (Cordova), Holly Woodley (Curry Elementary), Vicky Pridemore (Curry Middle), Jennifer Lynn (Jasper), Karen McCain (Lupton), Molly Bailey (Maddox), Kara Jones (Oakman), Ansley Greene (Parrish), Mallory Evans (Sumiton Elementary), Amanda Davenport (Sumiton Middle) and Allison Wade (Valley).

Jonathan Holladay and Matthew Woods served as judges, with Keith Gann as the pronouncer.

Gifted specialists Jennifer Misso and Meagan Nail helped organize the event, along with Howell, special education office coordinator Heather Gardner, and coordinator of special education Ginger Atkins.

Rita Pilling of Jasper City Schools represented the city school system during the spelling bee and led the pledge of allegiance. 

The spelling bee was sponsored by both school systems and held at the Walker County Board of Education.