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Coleman Third Grader Takes Second at Area 24 Spelling Bee

                Coleman Elementary third grader and campus co-champion Deacon Blake finished in second place at the Area 24 Spelling Bee held Tuesday at the CISD Central Offices.

Competitors from the Cleburne, Keene and Joshua ISDs and Keene Adventist Elementary School had their skills tested to determine who would continue on to the Scripps Howard Regional Spelling Bee which will be held virtually in March.

                Elizabeth Greensword, a sixth grader at Keene Junior High, was ultimately proclaimed the winner after correctly spelling “stevia” in the championship round. Blake will serve as the Regional Alternate—and plans to keep practicing his spelling words.

His top finish at the spelling bee makes the second time he has brought accolades to Coleman Elementary. Last year, Blake represented his school and went on to become the District winner in the CISD Reading Bee involving second graders from every campus.

                Like Greensword, he had a sibling among his school spelling bee competitors, which included his fifth grade sister, Paisley.

                “When she got out, I gave her a thumbs up,” Blake said. “She has helped me study, along with all my older sisters.”

                Blake said he battled his way through some nervous pressure as he took his place among Tuesday’s 12 fellow competitors, all seeking the spelling bee crown.

                “I felt I came prepared, but then I began to think I’d probably get out in the first round,” the nine-year-old said. “I knew everyone in the room was a champion. It was making me doubt myself. After a couple of rounds, I thought, ‘this isn’t so scary.’ By the time we got to the fourth round, I thought I might be close to winning.”

                Starting with the ninth round, it became a two-speller contest, with the Coleman Colt still in the game.

                “I was up there thinking it could go either way,” he said. “I didn’t care if I won or not because I was doing my best. In finishing second, I think I proved that just because you’re younger doesn’t mean you can’t do better.”

                His mother, Heather, credits reading as a factor in Blake’s spelling success.

                “He just has a love for reading,” she said. “And he’s a good sport. We are so proud of him.”

                With years—and opportunities—ahead, Blake is already contemplating his future as a competitive speller. The annual contest extends to the eighth grade.

                “When I’m in the fourth grade,” he said. “I may come back and take first place.”

                Also among the CISD competitors at Tuesday’s Area 24 contest were Aliza Kennedy, Adams Elementary; Scarlet Sandoval, Coleman Elementary; Anna Bushong, C.C. Cooke Elementary; Wesley Curlee, Gerard Elementary; Jordan McCowan, Irving Elementary; MaryElle Treesh, Marti Elementary; Makayla Amaya, Santa Fe Elementary; Jake Labo, Lowell Smith Middle School and Colton Harmon, AD Wheat Middle School.