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For the second consecutive year, McKenzie Snyder, a seventh-grade student at Cousins Middle School took home top honors at the Newton County School System Spelling Bee. She will now represent the district in the Regional Spelling Bee in Putnam County later this month. Clements Middle School student Casey Roberson was this year’s runner-up.

Spelling Bee winners from each elementary and middle school in the county competed in the competition, held at Newton High School on February 6. After almost 40 rounds of competition, the pool was narrowed down to two finalists—Snyder and Roberson. When Roberson finally stumbled on the word, “maneuver”, Snyder stepped to the microphone and spelled the word correctly. When she spelled the next word, “flabbergast” correctly, she was pronounced champion of the Newton County School System Spelling Bee!

“I was very nervous,” said Snyder,  who admitted there was a lot of extra pressure being the reigning Spelling Bee Chamion. 

In addition to defending her title, Snyder said she had a little extra incentive to study hard for the Spelling Bee. Her brother Matthew told her that she wouldn’t win!

“He said I wouldn’t win but I proved him wrong,” she said, adding that she was going to take her trophy back to school to show him and everyone else that she won.

“Spelling is one of my hobbies,” Snyder explained. “I think it’s fun.”

To prepare for the Bee, Snyder said she practiced a lot.

“I take the list of spelling words to lunch every day and practice,” she explained. “I also have the game, ‘Spelling Bee’ on my computer and that helps out a lot.”

Snyder said she will continue practicing to prepare herself for the regional Spelling Bee. And she’s not content with simply matching her top five performance from last year.

“I want to win,” said Snyder. “And I’d love to go to the National Spelling Bee but I’d be very nervous.”

As the Newton County winner, Snyder will now will represent the county at the Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 10 a.m. at Putnam County Middle School in Eatonton, Georgia.

“On behalf of the students and staff of Cousins Middle School, let me say how proud we are of McKenzie and her accomplishments,” said Scott Sauls, principal of Cousins Middle School. “I had seen McKenzie in class in the days leading up to the county level event and I can say that she was excited and anxious to compete at this level. She is a great student, works hard daily, and exemplifies what we like to see in the students in our school. Knowing that she is set to represent our county, for the second year in a row, makes this achievement even more special for her and for our school. Obviously, we wish her well and feel confident she will be successful at the regional level.”