After 20 rounds, Tuscaloosa County has newest spelling bee champ

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Gracie Fusco

Tuscaloosa County’s latest spelling bee champion is a sixth-grader from Collins-Riverside Intermediate School.

After 20 rounds of dwindling participants and increasingly difficult words, Tessa Hinnen won the top spot after correctly spelling “vexatious.” For those who are curious, it’s an adjective and means “causing or tending to cause annoyance, frustration or worry.”

Tessa’s win means she’s moving on to the statewide competition in Birmingham, and may ultimately compete in the televised Scripps National Spelling Bee.

This competition, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Tuscaloosa, pitted the best spellers from each school within the city and county against each other.

Spelling bee participant Alayna Ywhit said these events require a lot of preparation.

“I practiced with my friend who got second place with me,” Ywhit said. “She’s one of my best friends and she’s in my class.”

First- and second-place students are awarded a little more than bragging rights, said Betty Whisenant with the Kiwanis Club: They get some cash and a trophy honoring their achievements.

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