Luke Miller

Winner Luke Miller, an eighth-grader from Salado Junior High, with the correct spelling of emancipation.

TEMPLE — Out of a field of 59 students, Luke Miller, an eighth-grader at Salado Junior High, won the 83rd Bell County Spelling Bee on Saturday at Temple College, by correctly spelling effervesce and emancipation.

He received a $100 prize, and his name will be engraved on the traveling trophy. Lauren Carlson, a seventh-grader at Central Texas Christian School, placed second and earned a $50 prize. Lauren Carranza, an eighth-grader at St. Mary’s Catholic School, captured third place and a $25 award.

The spelling champion is the son of Grant Miller and Linda Parman of Temple. It was his first year to compete in the spelling bee. At his former school, St. Mary’s Catholic School, he said he participated in a writing test that fostered his liking for spelling.

“I feel very grateful toward everyone affiliated with this competition,” he said. Although appearing very composed during the two-hour spelling bee, he said he was nervous at the beginning.

“One of the ones toward the end, I wasn’t 100 percent sure I was going to get it,” Luke said.

Lauren Carlson is the daughter of Vicki and Craig Carlson of Temple. “I’ve been doing spelling bees since I was in the fourth grade,” she said. “It means a lot to me, but I really put my victory in the Lord my God. I put all of the words I spelled in His hands.

“I encourage a lot of kids to try it out,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of studying.”

Lauren Carranza is the daughter of Amy and Michael Carranza of Temple. It was her first spelling bee, but she said she felt confident. “Some of the words, I hadn’t seen before, but once I learned them and studied them, it came so easily to me.”

She said her English teacher and a lot of other people helped her out. “When I was practicing for this past week, I had a surgery on my chin,” she said. “And while they were putting the (intravenous injections) in, the nurse was helping me spell words.”

That was at McLane Children’s Hospital Scott & White.

The students started out spelling third- and fourth-grade level words, and later changed to fifth- and sixth-grade level words. When they took a break at 9:40 a.m., there were only 11 students left on stage. When the competition changed to seventh- and eighth-grade level words, the number dwindled.

When Rakeeb Akbar, an eighth-grader at Patterson Middle School, misspelled belligerent, that left four contestants, including Kayla Manning, an eighth-grader at Salado Junior High.

The quartet went four rounds before she misspelled deleterious.

The final three made it to the second round before Lauren Carranza misspelled divergence.

Luke Miller completed that round by spelling dulcet. Lauren Carlson spelled dutiable. He spelled ecclesiastical. Her next word was effervesce. She misspelled it “effervess.”

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