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South Florida Students Hope To S-P-E-L-L Success

DAVIE (CBSMiami) - Students from across Broward County put their spelling skills to the test Wednesday for the Miami Herald's 72nd annual spelling bee competition.

More than 125 spellers from Broward County public and private schools in grades 4 through 8 participated in the Broward Bee at Signature Grand in Davie.

Elementary school students took the stage first, followed by middle school students in the afternoon.

CBS4's Nicole Maristany, who helped host Wednesday's event, spoke to Peyton Robertson from Pine Crest School, a contestant for the first time.

"It is my first time and I am pretty nervous," said Robertson. Robertson, like all of the students in the bee, dedicated a lot of time studying and preparing. "My mom and I have been studying really hard."

Fellow contestant, Selena Mallay from Pinewood Elementary, had a similar experience and described her study method. "Just to keep on going over the words and write them over and over again," said Mallay.

With all of that dedication, it's easy to see that these students have a real love for the subject.

"I like spelling because you can learn how small parts from different languages can make different parts of words in English," said Robertson.

Memorizing each word's spelling, history and origin is no easy task, but all the preparation is sure to pay off, even in the long run.

"These are the future business leaders of our country and we need to make sure that we're supporting them today to prep them for tomorrow," explained Gary Kappelman from the Spelling Bee's Corporate Partner, Burger King.

Though the students are the ones who took the stage, parents in the audience were just as nervous.

"I think it's much more nerve wracking for the parents then the kids," said Peyton's dad Johnathan Robertson.

All that studying paid for the Robertson's. Peyton took home the top prize in the Elementary school competition and will move on to compete for the national title.

Second place went to Saaketh Vedantam of Pembroke Pines Charter School and third place went to Ayesha Khan of Salah Twafik School.

In the Middle School category, 7th grader Christal Schermeister from Hearts Homeschool Group took the top prize, 8th grade student Navya Baranwal from Pembroke Pines Charter West came in 2nd, and 8th grader Glenn Medina from Ramblewood Middle School rounded out the top three.

On Tuesday, March 6th, the best spellers in Miami-Dade and Monroe County public and private schools go head-to-head. More than 250 spellers will face off at the Miami-Dade/Monroe Spelling Bee at Jungle Island in Miami with CBS4 Anchor Jawan Strader and Meteorologist David Bernard as hosts.

The winners of both events will travel to Washington D.C. to participate in the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. the week of May 27th through June 1st.

The Miami Herald Spelling Bee Middle School champions also receive a free one-year subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online for Kids, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, a $100 Series EE U.S. Savings Bond and a Webster's Third New International Dictionary. Other prizes and plaques are awarded to the Elementary School Champion and to the finalists.


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