By CARL E. FEATHER - firstname.lastname@example.org
James Elliott admits he’s not very familiar with rockabilly music, but knowing how to spell it and two dozen other words helped the Grand Valley Middle School seventh-grader win the Ashtabula County Spelling Bee Tuesday evening.
The win was déja vu for James, who also won the 2012 county-wide bee. As was the case last year, James will represent Ashtabula County at the Tri-County Spelling Bee in Kirtland. That bee is 9:30 a.m. March 7 at the Kirtland Public Library.
James went more than 20 rounds against Jalique White, a seventh-grader from Geneva Middle School. Jalique is the son of Lee and Jean Nicole White.
The son of Robert and Becky Elliott of Roaming Shores, James said he studied spelling word lists by himself and with his mother to prepare for the county event. He also credited his interest in science, reading and math for helping him gain the word power that he needed to win the bee two years in a row.
His interest in science came in handy with words like “prescription” and “cobalt,” but James said the words “alias” and “dross” presented a challenge. He said his knowledge of word origins helped him sort out spellings and eventually take home the winner’s trophy.
His parents said they did not pressure their son to study for the bee, especially after having won the honor for the district and county last year.
“We put less pressure on him and let him control his own destiny,” his father said.
The family did not have any special plans for celebrating the victory Tuesday night. James said his family gave him the Blu Ray release of “Walking Dead, Season II” for his reward last year.
James said he’ll prepare for Kirtland bee by spending more time studying and less time playing video games and watching “Walking Dead.”
The other contestants in the countywide bee were Mikenzie Johnston, a sixth-grader from Jefferson Elementary; Dana Sackett, a sixth-grader from St. John School; Julianna Sloan, a fourth-grader from Kingsville Elementary; Ishmael Santiago, a sixth-grader from Superior Intermediate; and Jeremiah Caron, a sixth-grader from Pymatuning Valley Middle School.