TMS student wins county spelling bee, headed to state competition

ALABASTER – A Thompson Middle School eighth grader came out victorious at the Shelby County Spelling Bee held at Evangel Classical Christian School on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Students from schools throughout the county were invited to participate. TMS student Gabe Yilmaz won the competition and will move on to the Alabama Spelling Bee on March 21 at UAB.

Amelia Beland of Our Lady of the Valley School placed second and Kate Mills of Evangel Classical Christian School landed in third. The other spelling bee participants were Brylee Dennis of Helena Middle School, Walton Akins of Hilltop Montessori and Elijah Stallworth of Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy.

The students ranged from third to eighth grade with the youngest being Akins who is 8 years old. The spelling bee started off relatively easy with words like “olive” and “kiwi.” As the competition progressed, the level of difficulty increased. Before long, students were spelling words like “thimblerig,” “gung-ho,” “rendition,” “effusive,” “lozenge,” “lucrative,” “artifice” and more.

Leading up to the spelling bee, Yilmaz said he studied for about 15 minutes every day for two weeks prior to the competition. He won by correctly spelling the word “ewer,” which is a jug with a wide spout. Some adults at the competition admitted that they’d never heard the word before, but Yilmaz said it was a word he has heard and seen.

The first, second and third place winners each received a medallion and Yilmaz also got a trophy. After noticing one the contestants seemed sad about not placing in the spelling bee, Yilmaz decided to give her his medallion, a move that brought his mother to tears.

“I don’t need two awards,” Yilmaz said. “She did really good and deserves it. She got out on a tricky word.”

If Yilmaz wins the Alabama Spelling Bee, he will have a chance to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.