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Hamilton wins 2019 Central Oklahoma Spelling Bee

Continuing a winning family tradition, Rachel Hamilton from Whitebead Elementary School in Pauls Valley won the 2019 Central Oklahoma Spelling Bee on Saturday.

Hamilton’s winning word was “nomenclature” after 23 rounds of competition.

“I thought I wasn’t going to win, but God answered my prayers” said Rachel. “I knew most of the words. I write them on my hand, then I think that I can see me writing the words out.”

Last year’s winner, Shawn Terrado from Elgin Middle School, finished second. Fehintola Gbolade from Piedmont Middle School was third.

Hamilton turned 10 years old five days before the competition. She comes from a family of strong spellers. Her brother Luke finished second in 2016. Rachel says he’s the best speller in the family and that might be saying something — her father Matt won the event in 1978. Her grandfather was a spelling bee announcer.

“I was going to be proud regardless of the result today,” said Matt Hamilton about his daughter’s performance, “because she had worked hard and I was just proud of her for working hard. The huge bonus is that she was able to get through this. I’m sort of speechless.”

“We just get the words and try to have her do the best that she can,” said her mother Joni. “We break it up into sections and then she would spell them. The ones she missed, she would write them and then say them out loud as she would write them. We just kept practicing and practicing and practicing.”

The 2019 Central Oklahoma Spelling Bee, which encompasses 50 counties across the state, was held at Samis Auditorium at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center on Saturday. Participants included students in grades four through eight, enrolled in a public or private school or homeschooled.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is scheduled for May 26-31 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

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<strong>Hamilton</strong>

Hamilton

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David Morris

Dave Morris serves as Director of Video at OPUBCO, where he's worked since 1996. Morris spent two years as a sports reporter for The Oklahoman before transitioning to online efforts. He has 15 years of digital management with Oklahoman.com and... Read more ›

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