All smiles

Jackson Belobrajdic a sixth-grader at Lake Belton Middle School is all smiles after he was named 2016 Bell County Spelling Bee overall champion. Jackson spelled the word "Familial" to win.

Jackson Belobrajdic, a sixth-grader from Lake Belton Middle School, won the 85th Bell County Spelling Bee on Saturday morning at the Temple Civic Theatre, by spelling familial.

“I was very surprised, since it was all middle school and I’m just in the sixth grade,” he said.

He received a $100 prize and the traveling trophy for his school. Madelyn Bradshaw, a seventh-grader at North Belton Middle School, earned the second-place plaque and $50. Jarod Yost, an eighth-grader from Providence Preparatory School in Belton, took the third-place plaque and $25.

Belobrajdic, the son of Lindsay and D.J. Belobrajdic of Belton, has been spelling for several years, he said. He won first place when he was in the third grade at Leon Heights Elementary in Belton.

“It’s always kind of something I’ve been good at,” he said. “I enjoy it very much.”

His little brother and his grandmother helped him to go over all the words on the list, he said.

“It was very long and very hard, but it was worth it.”

Bradshaw, the daughter of Charlotte and David Bradshaw of Belton, said it was her first time to compete in the county spelling bee. “I enjoy literature,” she said.

“The majority of (the words) I had a good grasp,” she said. “We would study any free time we had—in the car, at night, after homework, during free periods at school.”

She said she got a lot of help from her mother. “It was my mom all the way,” she said. “I’ll be back next year.”

Yost is the son of Karyn and Dennis Yost of Salado. “I’ve always liked writing,” he said. “I’ve always been pretty good at it.”

The word that dropped him into third place was aphorism. He put an e in place of the o. Before that, he had trouble with delicatessen.

“I thought I was going to go out when I got that,” he said.

His mom, dad and brother, Evan, helped him to prepare, he said. “I just want to thank the Temple Daily Telegram, and God, for giving me strength and everything.”

With 48 students on the docket, the spelling bee took about two hours to determine a winner. Pattie Marek, Newspapers In Education coordinator for competition sponsor the Temple Daily Telegram, coordinated the event. D. Kirkland, Temple College speech instructor, was the pronouncer. Judges were Linda Barnes, Temple College administrative assistant in marketing and media relations; Leigh Gardner, director of the Temple Public Library; and the Rev. Roscoe Harrison, pastor of the Eighth Street Baptist Church in Temple.

When the students took a break about 9:35 a.m., there were five students left. These included Andrew Galvan-Arrian, a sixth-grader from Central Texas Christian School in Temple, and Matt Stahnke, an eighth-grader from Salado Junior High School. Stahnke missed on acquiesce. Galvan-Arrian put an I in advantageous.

After Yost dropped out, Bradshaw and Belobrajdic ploughed through 17 rounds without a mistake. In the next round, he spelled testator, but she missed on canorous, which he got right.