Photo Courtesy of Arkansas State Spelling Bee
Hope Academy of Public Service seventh grade student Mika Brown, left, took third place in the recent Arkansas State Spelling Bee. Fort Smith eight-grader Haris Rana, center, won first place and Faizan Parray, of Pulaski County, won second place.

Submitted by Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools

Hempstead County three-peat spelling bee champion Mika Brown spelled her way to third place in the Arkansas State Spelling Bee.

Brown, a seventh grade student at Hope Academy of Public Service, competed in the statewide contest at Central Baptist College in Conway on March 4, winning a Kindle E-reader, $25 Amazon gift card and two free admission passes to Arkansas Skatium for the third place finish.

Brown said the competition had lasted three hours at the time she was eliminated by the word “interment” (an entombment or burial). The competition was her third opportunity to represent Hempstead County in the statewide event to chose the Arkansas representative to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

“I’m going to try, again, next year,” Brown said.

Contestants must be under the age of 16 and have not advanced beyond the eighth grade.

Photo by Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools
Hope Academy of Public Service seventh grade student Mika Brown, left, is congratulated by HAPS Principal Dr. Carol Ann Duke on Brown’s third place finish at the recent Arkansas State Spelling Bee. The competition was Brown’s third trip to the state contest representing Hempstead County.

Brown uses a visual technique in which she spells each word with her finger on her open palm before spelling it aloud. She has said the tool allows her to visualize the spelling to determine whether it appears correct.

The Conway competition brought 61 students from 75 counties together for the epic spelling challenge. Fort Smith Eighth-grader Haris Rana won first place with the word “chasuble” (a long, sleeveless vestment worn over the alb by the celebrant at Mass). Faizan Parray, of Pulaski County, won second place.

The statewide competition is sponsored each year by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in conjunction with the E. W. Scripps Company, sponsor of the national contest.

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