Tears, cheers and really tough words

Published 4:40 pm Sunday, March 25, 2007

By Staff
MacIntosh wins regional bee
Staff Writer
So young and yet, so “omnipotent.”
Parents and audience members were more than impressed Saturday at the 15th Annual Downeast N.C. Regional Spelling Bee as the areas best spellers tackled a “formidable” list of words.
The bee was sponsored by PCS Phosphate and the Washington Daily News.
About 90 students started out in the competition, but only 25 “exuberant” finalists were left by round four. After four hours, Neil MacIntosh became the champion after he “succeeded” in spelling “stalag,” a German prisioner-of-war camp.
MacIntosh is an eighth grader at Grover C. Fields Elementary School in New Bern. He also competed in the regional bee in the sixth grade. This was the final year he was eligible to compete.
MacIntosh said he was “pretty confident” in his spelling abilities. “I want to be an architect. I just happen to be good at spelling,” he said.
His mother, Maureen Prendergast, was the apprehensive one. “I was so nervous, my heart was stopping. I said ‘I can’t handle much more of this.’”
His grandfather, John Prendergast, said his win was unbelievable. “I’m so proud of that young man.”
Stephanie Sanders, an eight grader at Pactolus Elementary School, took second place in the bee with the word “spurious.”
When asked how she felt about her win, Sanders said, “it’s good.” She said spelling took “discipline.” “I gave up the phone for a week,” she said.
Lindsay Young, a fifth grader from Cape Hatteras Elementary School placed third when she missed the word “decibel.”
She was disappointed, but kept a gracious smile on her face until she fell into her mother’s arms.
Still, with tears in her eyes, Young vowed to come back next year.
With his win, MacIntosh advances to the 80th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The event starts May 27 and ends June 1.