What do taxidermy and a bee have in common? Parker Davenport.
The Otwell Middle School sixth-grader spelled the word "taxidermy" to become Forsyth County’s 2011 Spelling Bee champion.
“Parker’s a great kid and he’s versatile in many things,” said Otwell Principal Steve Miller.
“Not only is he a phenomenal speller, obviously, but he’s a great student and he’s very involved in our drama program.”
Davenport will head to the district spelling bee Feb. 26 in Marietta, along with first runner-up Morgan Voshall, an eighth-grader at Vickery Creek Middle, and second runner-up Drayton Ellis, a fifth-grader from Silver City Elementary.
Alternate Justin Ebert, an eighth-grader from North Forsyth Middle, will attend should one of the top three be unable to make it.
Judi Jenkins, who organized the county’s bee, said the 28 students spelled more than 100 words during Saturday’s event, which lasted less than two hours.
“We had some very hard words,” she said. “I was prepared. If we had been there all night long, I think I’d have had enough words.”
The event drew a large crowd of parents, grandparents and other supporters to South Forsyth Middle School.
In addition to cheering on their children, parents were also given the option to stand and protest a judgment made on their child’s response.
“We had a couple that questioned some calls, but we usually do,” Jenkins said. “I’ve never been to a district bee where we didn’t have several. That’s just part of it.”
In the end, Jenkins said, the call is up to the three-judge panel.
And when Davenport correctly spelled the word "phosphorous," previously missed by Voshall, followed by a correct spelling of "taxidermy," the judges declared him the winner.
“He’s really just a super, well-rounded kid,” Miller said. “He has many great things ahead of him.”