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Whitehead, Edwards win county spelling bees

Brooklyn Whitehead found herself in familiar territory Monday when she won the Harlan County Spelling Bee.

Competing in the middle grades division to earn the right to advance to the Kentucky Derby Spelling Bee in March, Whitehead withstood a tough challenge from Jacob Shoemaker, of Rosspoint, who finished with second place honors. Aiden Stewart from Cawood Elementary School came in third.

After multiple rounds, Whitehead corrected the misspelling of controversy by her closest opponent and then capped the win by correctly spelling toboggan.

Now an eighth grader, Whitehead won the primary division as a third grader. The primary division winners do not advance to the state spelling bee. She is the daughter of Walden and Natasia Whitehead.

In addition to a trophy, medal and $100, Whitehead will spend her birthday in Louisville representing Harlan County at the state spelling bee. Her mother said her daughter has the “biggest heart ever,” reflecting on a school spelling be a few years back where she intentionally let her friend win a spelling bee.

Brooklyn’s favorite subject is English. While spelling is not a class, her teachers give tests that emphasize grammar and spelling.

She plays basketball, cheers and is a member of First Priority.

She wants to be a lawyer when she grows up “because I am really good at arguing and getting what I want.” She would love to see a debate team established at Harlan County High School where she will attend next year.

Others participating were Madison Combs, Black Mountain; Jacob Brown, Cumberland; Alyssa Wynn, Evarts; Brayden Brock, Harlan County Christian; Sayed Damaa, Harlan Middle School; Dalton Neff, James A. Cawood; and Jayden Simpson, Wallins.

Jaelyn Edwards, a third grader at Evarts Elementary School, won the primary division of the Harlan County Spelling Bee. She is the daughter of daughter of James and Summer Edwards.

Hayden Grace, a third grader from Cumberland Elementary School, won second place. Kaylee Lockhart, a third grader from Green Hills Elementary was third.

Students competing included: Hunter Brewer, Black Mountain; Lilly Skidmore, Cawood; Carson Clark and Hayden Grace, Cumberland; Jaelyn Edwards and Riley Anglian, of Evarts; Kaylee Lockhart and Kaiden Turner, Green Hills; Gracie Middleton and Jarrod Doeple, James A. Cawood; Peyton Osborne and Aiselyn Sexton, Rosspoint; and Cameron Stephens and Layken Saylor, Wallins.

Each participant in both divisions received medals for advancing to the county spelling bee.

Spelling bee sponsors are Harlan County Farm Bureau/Agent Roger Fannin, Kentucky River Coal, Monticello Banking Company and Harlan County Public Schools.