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Shallotte Middle 8th Grader Claims
Brunswick County Spelling Bee Title
BY SUSAN USHER
Competition in the Brunswick
County Spelling Bee last Thursday
narrowed quickly to a Round 15
contest between past champion and
two-time runner-up Leslie Myrie Jr.
of Southport and county bee new
comer Caroline Sheffield of Ocean
Like a championship tennis match
with long volleys interrupted by on
ly an occasional lost service, the two
look turns spelling at the micro
phone in the iheaterctlc of Supply
Momentary School. Tension was ev
ident in the hushed audience of fam
ily members and spellers seated in a
scmicircle before them.
"After the first couplc of rounds it
bccame automatic," said 14-year-old
Caroline, who coolly and correctly
spelled, in Round 41, "friable" and
Uien, to clinch the championship,
"At the moment I was just focus
ing on what 1 was doing," she said
in an interview. "1 was almost in a
trance. When 1 made a mistake it
didn't really matter." Because of
that, it look a few moments for the
news that she had won to sink in.
The county championship was a
goal Caroline worked hard to
achieve, she said. She had competed
in the school bee only once before,
as a fifth grader, and was making
her first appearance in the county
"This was my last year of eligibil
ity for this opportunity, so I thought
I should go through with it and do
the best I could," she said.
Sheffield's message to other
would-be bee contestants is simple:
"Anybody can do this if they try.
You should never say you can't do
something. You have to believe in
yourself. Thai's part of the solution
to getting where you want to go."
Using an unabridged dictionary
and a pronunciation guide, she stud
ied approximately 45 minutes a day
most days starting last October, with
the assistance of her mother. To pre
STAFF PHOTOS BY SUSAN USHU
FIANKING SECOND PI ACE finisher I^eslie Myrie Jr. are (left) fourth place winner Desiree Russ
and (right) third place winner Andrew Novotny.
pare for national she plans lo keep
working, she said. "I'll study longer
and be sure to study every day, not
just most days."
Sheffield credited her parents,
James and Carolyn Sheffield of Tar
heeland Acres, as role models who
nurtured her interest in learning
from an early age. "That's probably
why 1 was interested in this in the
first place," she said, noting that
many of her peers don't share that
Persistence and hard work paid
off. She bested a tough competitor,
1992 county champion and fellow
Shallotie Middle student Heather
Hcavcncr, to win the eighth grade
bee and a berth at the county bee.
Her key competition there, Myric, a
South Brunswick Middle School
eighth grader, was the 1991 county
champion and 1990 and 1992 first
BEE DIRECTOR LEMON is on the receiving end this time, wii'n a
plaque of appreciation from bee co-sponsor The State Port Pilot
presented by Feature Editor Marybeth Bianchi.
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The opening that counted Thurs
day night came when Myrie mis
spelled "sashay" as "sachet" in
Round 40 after Sheffield had mis
spelled "mandatory." With both mis
spelling their words, cach stayed in
the bee for what proved to be the fi
The two had spelled flawlessly
through 26 turns before cach had
several opportunities to move in for
the finish. Both choked several
times on intermediate level words
such as "mawkishly" and "thoracic."
Sheffield, who is enrolled in acad
emically gifted classes in language
arts and algebra at Shalloite Middle,
is also a member of the handbell
choir, the regional championship
History Bowl team and the school's
first Scientific Olympiad team. She
is taking her eighth year of jazz and
ballet dance instruction, and said
that previous experience on stage
helped her maintain composure dur
ing the bee. She would like a career
either in the arts or in a field that uti
lizes her abilities in the arts.
Accompanied by Bee Director
Debbie Lemon and her mother, she
will travel to Washington, D.C.,
May 30-June 5 to compete in the
Scripps Howard National Spelling
"We're very pleased Caroline will
be representing us at the national
spelling bee," said Janice Gore, a
Shallottc Middle School teacher of
the academically gifted. "She has
wonderful visual memory and be
sides that, she'll study."
The all-expcnscs-paid trip was
part of a championship prize pack
age that also included a 32-volume
set of Encyclopedia Brittanica, a
Franklin Electronic Wordmaster and
a 1993 World Almanac.
For his second-place finish, Myrie
received a Smith-Corona word pro
cessor and a trophy. He was repre
senting South Brunswick Middle
Third place winner Andrew Nov
otny, a fifth grade student at South
port Elementary School, received a
Random House dictionary. The son
of Dennis and Patricia Novoiny, he
spelled "embellish" with one "I" in
Also in Round 14, fourth place
finisher Desirce Russ sat down on
the word "skittish." A seventh grade
student at Lcland Middle School,
she is the daughter of David and
Carolyn Russ. Her prizes included a
trophy and a Mcrriam Webster desk
top reference set.
All 15 bee participants received
trophies from the Shallottc Junior
Woman's Club, which co-sponsors
the bee with The State Port Pilot of
Grade-level champions compet
ing at the county bee included these
students in addition to the finalists:
Tia Marie Corbett, fifth grade,
Bolivia Elementary, daughter of
James and Eva Corbett; Jake Beabe.
fifth grade. Supply Elementary, son
of Davis and Barbara Beaube; Chris
Morris, eighth grade, Lcland Mid
dle, son of Charles and Phoebe Mor
ris; Lee Ann Stevens, fifth grade,
Shallottc Middle, daughter of David
and Sonia Stevens; Rachel Wheat
ley, sixth grade, Shallottc, daughter
of Robert and Margaret Wheatley;
Also, Christina Hcwctt, seventh
grade, Shallottc, daughter of Debbie
Lcmmon and Jimmy Hewett; Be
linda Simmons, fifth grade, Wac
camaw Elementary, daughter of
Linda Simmons; Chris Russ, sixth
grade, Waccamaw, son of C.C. and
Connie Russ; Erica Minion, seventh
grade, Waccamaw, daughter of Don
ald and Dcnisc Minton; Elizabeth
Manin, sixth grade. South Bruns
wick Middle, Nancy and Harry
Martin; and Billy James, seventh
grade, South Brunswick, son of
William and C. J. James.
Pilot Feature Editor Marybcth
Bianchi presented Bee Director
Debbie Lemon with a plaque of ap
preciation for her 10 years with the
bee, followed by Lemon's announ
cement that she plans to retire from
the volunteer post this year.
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I \ . I
CHAMPION CAROLINE SHEFFIELD (right) accepts her trophy
from Spelling Bee Director Debbie Lemon.
Bruce Piephoff Has New Album Out
Brucc Piephoff of Greensboro, a Piephoff's mentor Fred Chappcll, a
former Visiting Artist at Brunswick noted poet and UNC-Greensboro
Community College and South- faculty member.
eastern Community College, has re- Produced by Doug Rorrer and
cently released South, his fourth al- Piephoff, performers on South in
bum on the Flyin' Cloud Records la- elude the author on acoustic guitar,
bel. harmonica and vocals; Scott Man
South features 20 original folk ring on mandoccllo, acoustic lead
tunes and poems written by guitar, dobro and National Steel
Piephoff, including "Greetings From Guitar; Arnic Solomon on man
Holden Beach," "In My Time," dolin; Rorrer on bass and acoustic
"Grccnsboro Rounder," and "Don't lead guitar; Tamas Marius on bass,
Like No Poultry." "Liner notes arc by soprano sax, aito sax and flute.
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