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Citrus speller places third in Suncoast bee

Just three weeks after clinching the title of Citrus County's best middle school speller, Amanda Rose, a sixth-grader at Central Catholic School, traveled to the St. Petersburg Times auditorium in St. Petersburg on March 19 to put her spelling to the test again _ this time for best speller on the Suncoast. She came close.

After lasting six rounds, Amanda misspelled "meagerness" placing her third in the Suncoast Spelling Bee, where she competed against pupils from middle schools in Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties.

Amanda's correctly spelled words included "distressing," "minstrels," "valiantly," and "badgers." She received a $500 savings bond for winning third place.

"I was very happy and I thought I would win one of the places. Everyone said I would win something, so I guess they were right," Amanda said.

She began preparing for the spelling bee about a week ahead of time, she said, so that the words would be fresh in her mind. Studying the words, though, is not enough to be a good speller. Amanda's mother, Michele Rose, attributes Amanda's talent, at least in part, to reading.

"She reads a lot," her mother said, explaining that a lot of words stay in her daughter's memory just from reading.

Amanda was accompanied to the bee by two other super spellers from Citrus County, Craig Edmonds and Heather Murray,both from Crystal River Middle School. Neither placed at the Suncoast Spelling Bee, but at the county contest, Craig placed second and Heather third.

The winner of the Suncoast Spelling Bee, Rachel St. Cere, an eighth-grader from Pinellas Park Middle School, will go to Washington, D.C., in May to compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.