Twelve spelling champions from elementary and middle schools in Floyd County vied for the district championship title. Students, parents, school chaperones, and spelling bee officials met Wednesday, March 5, 2008, in the Gearheart Auditorium located in the Pike Building on the Big Sandy Community and Technical College campus for this academic event. Dr. Nancy Johnson, Provost at the college, graciously greeted the room of spelling champions and commended them for their achievement.
The top three spellers of the District Spelling Bee, Holly Donohoe, Allen Elementary; Andrea Akers, Betsy Layne Elementary; and Swathi Gutti, Mt. Christian Academy, (all eighth grade students) spelled one hundred twenty six words in thirty three rounds. Once the competition narrowed with two individuals, Andrea Akers and Swathi Gutti completed forty-three more rounds including eighty-six words while an anxious audience looked on. After seventy-six rounds of spelling, Swathi Gutti, an eighth grade student at Mountain Christian Academy, claimed the district championship. Swathi Gutti will compete with other district champions at the state Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee, scheduled for March 15, 2008.
School spelling champions included: Summer Ousley, a sixth grade student, from Adams Middle School; Holly Donohoe, an eighth grade student, from Allen Elementary School; Braxton Burke, an eighth grade student from Allen Central Middle; Andrea Akers, an eighth grade student from Betsy Layne Elementary; Kaylee Stumbo, a fifth grade student from Duff Elementary; Jordan Pack, a fourth grade student from May Valley Elementary; Coleman Giese, a sixth grade student from McDowell Elementary School; Swathi Gutti, an eighth grade student from Mountain Christian Academy; Audrey Caudill, a fourth grade student from Osborne Elementary; Tate Greene, a fourth grade student from Prestonsburg Elementary; Josh Akers, an eighth grade student from South Floyd Middle School; and Liz Farley, an eighth student from John M. Stumbo.
Those assisting with the District Spelling Bee included: Mr. John Carroll, Marguerite Hampton, Bob Looney, Tim Cooley, Stephanie Conley, and Dr. Nancy Johnson, all at the Big Sandy Community and Technical College; Tammy Hatfield, a volunteer from the school community; Beverly Crisman, district school/community relations liaison. Patricia Watson served as coordinator for the District Spelling Bee.