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Student ready for spelling bee

One of the 47,200 words in the vault of the Alabama State Spelling Bee will determine the contestant to move onto Scripps National Spelling Bee, and it could be a student from Meadowview Christian School.

“Only one representative from each county goes to the state bee,” said Susan McDougal, Alabama Spelling Bee coordinator. The 86th state bee will be held Saturday at Oak Mountain High School in Hoover at noon.

All students, from kindergarten to eighth grade participate in the same competition.

“A lot of times, it’s said that kindergarteners can’t compete against an eighth grader,” McDougal said. “But it’s great exposure for them.”

Students will rotate in a traditional spelldown of single elimination. The bee winner must spell two words correctly in the final round.

“When it gets further into the bee and students get eliminated, it’s more about language concepts,” McDougal said. She can usually see a divide in the students between those who memorized words, and those who have an understanding of language.

“If the word is German it’s going to be spelled different than if the word is French,” McDougal said.

In the remaining days before the bee, Austin Deavers, the Dallas County representative from Meadowview, has been studying at least two hours per day.

“I think I’m really prepared,” Deavers said. “I’m feeling excited about this thing.”

Deavers will compete against 58 other students who have qualified from the 816 participating schools in the state. This is his first time qualifying for the state bee. He has competed in bees since the fourth grade.

“I’m going to win,” Deavers said. “I’ve got to win.”

His determination and thorough daily studying, both at school and home, make him a contender in this contest.

“He’s so extremely prepared,” said Rexene Redd, spelling bee sponsor. “Austin is like someone who finally gets to the Olympics. He’s worked so diligently, and he wants to go all the way.”

Because the bee can draw from any word in the dictionary, Redd reminds Deavers that he is prepared and has no reason to worry.

“It’s kind of tossed Austin out of his comfort zone, but he’s been spelling like crazy,” Redd said.

The winner of the State Spelling Bee will represent Alabama in the national competition in Washington D.C. on May 31 to June 6. The program will broadcast live on the ABC Television Network.