Mission: Plausible

WMS 8th-grader correctly spells ‘plausible’ to win county spelling bee

Posted 2/2/19

“Plausible” is a word Addison Payne will never forget. Being able to correctly spell the word that means

“having an appearance of truth or reason; credible; believable” made her the …

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Mission: Plausible

WMS 8th-grader correctly spells ‘plausible’ to win county spelling bee


“Plausible” is a word Addison Payne will never forget.

Being able to correctly spell the word that means “having an appearance of truth or reason; credible; believable” made her the second Woodland Middle School eighth-grader in a row to be crowned Bartow County’s spelling bee champion.

Addison, 14, outspelled 15 other elementary and middle school representatives in grades 4-8 at the 59th annual Bartow County Spelling Bee Friday morning at the Clarence Brown Conference Center in Cartersville.

After five rounds of competition that took less than an hour, the new champ correctly spelled “proclamation” and “plausible” to win the title after runner-up Danica McFadden from Taylorsville Elementary misspelled “procedural.”

“It’s crazy,” Addison said. “When I won the school spelling bee [in December], I didn’t expect that, and then coming here, I was like, ‘You know, I just don’t want to be out first.’ And then first place, I was like, ‘Whoa.’ It’s crazy.”

Competing for the first time on the county level, Addison said she was fortunate to be given words she knew.

“I got lucky with some of my words, very lucky, because most of them, whenever I got them, I knew how to spell them, but some of the other people’s words, I was like ‘uh-uh,’” she said. “I was back there trying to spell with them, and some of them I just, no.”

The daughter of Molly Payne and Rodney Payne said she got lists of words that were “categorized by their language of origin.”

“I worked 20 minutes every night studying the patterns between the different languages, like Greek has a lot of ‘ph’ sounds, and there’s other languages with a lot of double consonants and some with double vowels and some with really weird vowels,” the Euharlee resident said. “Japanese, a lot of their words end in ‘i.’ So it was just recognizing those patterns that was good to do.”

Addison, who had her mom and grandparents cheering her on, said she will continue studying the same way for the regional spelling bee scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23, at Georgia Highlands College in Rome.

“And reading helps a lot with spelling, too, because you can recognize different words,” she said. “And reading signs. I like to read signs, too. And spelling everything. Anything and everything. My friends will give me words, and I’ll spell them so it’s just good to practice.”

Addison’s mom, who teaches at Taylorsville Elementary, said she’s “just super-proud she made it that far.”

“How do you spell ‘proud?’” she said. “We’ve been practicing these words, and I had discovered I’m not as smart as I thought I was because I can’t pronounce these words. In fact, a couple of times, she corrected me.”

Payne said her youngest daughter – who is on the state school superintendent’s student advisory board for the second year, is a competitive tumbling and trampoline gymnast, is part of the Duke University TIP program, is a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar and is a student ambassador at WMS – has “kind of done her own thing.”

“I’m just kind of holding onto her coattails,” she said. “I’m just trying to hold onto the star here. She just keeps doing such wonderful things. ‘How do you spell proud?’ is all I can say.”

Besides being a proud mom, Payne said she also was a “proud teacher” because Danica, the runner-up, is one of her students.

“I think that’s really cool so whoever won would have been wonderful either way,” she said. “I’m just so excited.”

Woodland spelling bee coordinator Kate Clayton, who provided Addison with study lists for the contest, said it was “great” to have her school’s representative win again this year. 

“She is a very driven young lady, and so it didn’t surprise me at all that she did this,” she said.

At the start of the bee, Bartow Education Foundation Executive Director Dot Frasier, who coordinates the event with Nancy Summey, told the boys and girls to “remember one thing.”

“You all came here as a winner, and you’re going to leave as a winner, but we’re going to choose one person to represent Bartow County at the regional spelling bee,” said Ms. Frasier, who has attended all 59 county bees.

When the contest ended, Addison and Danica received plaques from Bartow County Chief Academic Officer Dr. David Chiprany and Greg Frisbee, president of the Bartow Education Foundation, which sponsored the event with the Bartow County Association of Educators.

All 16 competitors, decked out in their Bartow County Spelling Bee T-shirts, received a certificate and a gift bag.

Other elementary school representatives were Savannah Viktora from Adairsville, Aiden Whitted from Allatoona, Emma Phillips from Clear Creek, Madelyn Reininga from Cloverleaf, Wyatt Rapier from Emerson, Josiah Cass from Euharlee, Lindsay Ziemer from Hamilton Crossing, Leilah Bedford from Kingston, Paul Lanier from Mission Road, Annabelle Card from Pine Log and Grace Delauder from White.

Representing the other middle schools were Annie McCormick from Adairsville, Zachary McKnight from Cass and Kaleb Smith from South Central.

On behalf of Superintendent Dr. Phillip Page, who is “very proud of you all,” Chiprany congratulated the school winners on their accomplishment.

“I tell you what,” he said. “I’ve been a principal of many schools and many things in my life, but the spelling bee scares me to death. My stomach was in knots the whole time. To stand right there, I couldn’t do it right now so I’m really proud of you all for the fantastic job.”

Ms. Frasier said the county had a “wonderful group” of school winners this year. “They just get smarter and wiser and prettier and bigger and just more enjoyable to work with every year,” she said. “After 59 years, it’s just remarkable. I just think we get better with age.”

She also said she hopes Addison can make it all the way to the state spelling bee.

“I think our winner will do well, and everybody has an equal chance,” she said.