Pint-sized fourth-grader Natalie Lugo came out T-R-I-U-M-P-H-A-N-T against contestants from each of the eight elementary school and the three middle schools to win the Effingham County spelling bee Tuesday morning.
The 17 spellers sounded it out at the Board of Education auditorium in Springfield where the competition was whittled down to South Effingham Middle’s Tanner Beck, a seventh grader, SEMS eighth grader Ben Villegas and Rincon Elementary’s Lugo.
Through nine rounds, the audience was taken by the students’ adeptness, spelling words such as rescind, potpourri and fiery. After correctly spelling “enzyme” and “torrential,” Lugo was named champion.
The Georgia Association of Educators gave second runner-up Beck $25, first runner-up Villegas $50 and champion Lugo $75.
School-wide champions who competed are as follows: David Shyrock, Blandford Elementary; Randy Nance, Ebenezer Elementary; Megan Lee, Guyton Elementary; Logan Edenfield, Marlow Elementary; Natalie Lugo, Rincon Elementary; Braden Hoover, Sand Hill Elementary; Brandon Bell, South Effingham Elementary; Keith Wright, Springfield Elementary; Caitlyn Foster, Ebenezer Middle; Taylor Anderson, Ebenezer Middle; Taylor Ross, Ebenezer Middle; Dillon Silva, Effingham County Middle; Aaron Lee, Effingham County Middle; Ben Ginn, Effingham County Middle; Trent Zeigler, South Effingham Middle; Tanner Beck, South Effingham Middle; Ben Villegas, South Effingham Middle.