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Fayetteville sixth-grader Leah Platt takes her turn spelling a word as opponent Addison Staude, a Zora Ellis Junior High student, looks on.

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

SYLACAUGA – For the fourth year in a row, a member of the Platt family from Fayetteville School has won the Talladega County Spelling Bee.

Leah Platt, a sixth-grader at Fayetteville in the Talladega County school system, calmly stood, spoke into the microphone and then spelled the winning word Friday morning at B.B. Comer Memorial Library.

Loud cheers and clapping broke out in the audience as one of the judges said “correct” to Platt’s spelling of “renegade.”

Platt couldn’t contain her excitement as she captured the top spot. “It feels great. I was very nervous,” she said.

The sixth-grader and her family arrived early at the library, and she went over words that might come up during the competition.

Platt’s mother and father are Steve and Johnna Platt, of Fayetteville.

“Leah is following in the footsteps of her sister, Lydia,” Johnna Platt said as her daughter was being congratulated. “Lydia won the spelling bee the last three years and aged out of the competition. This is Leah’s first time to compete in the county spelling bee. Lydia went on last year to finish third in the state spelling bee.”

Addison Staude, a seventh-grader at Zora Ellis Junior High in the Talladega City school system, was runner-up. This was her second year to compete, said her mother, Ginger Staude. Addison finished fourth last year.

Staude incorrectly spelled the flower “petunia” in the final round.

The spelling bee featured students in grades 3-8 in the Talladega County, Talladega City and Sylacauga City school systems.

Sylacauga City Schools hosted the event, with Jennifer Rosato, the system’s executive director of teaching and learning, serving as coordinator.

Dr. Claire Keel, psychometrist with Talladega County Schools, was the pronouncer. The judges were Debbie Barnett, Sylacauga City Schools; Pattie Thomas, Talladega City Schools; and Dr. Donna Hudson, Talladega County Schools.

Platt as the winner advanced to the Alabama Spelling Bee in March.

The state champion will win an all-expense paid trip for two to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C. The Alabama Spelling Bee is sponsored by Adventure Travel, with Susan McDougal as coordinator.

The first Scripps National Spelling Bee was in 1925. The winning word was “gladiolus.”

County spelling bee participants were:

Sylacauga City Schools: Nichols-Lawson Middle, Aaryn Clary, grade six; and Pinecrest Elementary, Brody Wedge, grade three;

Talladega City Schools: Houston Elementary, Giovanni Rashun Spencer, grade six; R.L. Young Elementary, Joshua Sullivan, grade four; and Zora Ellis Junior High, Addison Staude, grade seven;

Talladega County Schools: B.B. Comer Elementary, Addison Wilson, grade five; Childersburg Elementary, Parish Jones, grade four; Childersburg Middle, Robert Barnett, grade six; Drew Middle, Trinity McClellan, grade six; Fayetteville School, Leah Platt, grade six; Lincoln Elementary, Ben Boudreaux, grade five; Munford Elementary, Lanee Stephens, grade five; Stemley Road Elementary, Malashia Ledford, grade four; Sycamore Elementary, Elizabeth Hunter, grade four; Talladega County Central High, Amiya Sillmon, grade eight; Watwood Elementary, Chase Price, grade four; and Winterboro School, Kyle Popham, grade eight.