Super spellers: Berryille student wins county bee

Friday, January 17, 2020
First-place winner Gregory Fausett, runner-up AC Calvillo and third-place finisher Hank Birchfield, all of Berryville, pose with their awards at the Carroll County Spelling Bee on Friday, Jan. 10, at Green Forest Intermediate School.
Haley Schichtl / Carroll County News

By Haley Schichtl

Berryville fifth-grader Gregory Fausett won the Carroll County Spelling Bee on Friday, Jan. 10 after correctly spelling “arborio” in round 18, and will advance to compete in the Arkansas State Spelling Bee on Saturday, Feb. 1 in Cabot.

Arborio, for the record, is a variety of round-grained rice produced in Italy and used in making risotto.

AC Calvillo and Hank Birchfield, both of Berryville, finished in second and third place, respectively.

“My family has never been to Little Rock, so we’ll have an excuse. We moved here in June from Wyoming,” Fausett said. “I like spelling; I’m kind of grammar police, also a little scholarships wouldn’t hurt.”

It was Fausett’s first year participating in a spelling bee, but he’s got the technique down — his mom quizzes him.

Calvillo does the same thing once they are given the book of words to practice.

“There’s 28 pages, and we had about a month, so we would do one page each day,” he said. “Then at the end when we had a few days left, we would study the ones I got wrong.”

Calvillo, who is now in sixth grade, said he has been participating in spelling bees since he was in the fourth grade, and won the county competition the past two years. Last year, he placed 11th at the state competition.

Before participating in the county competition, the students had to place in their school competition in November.

“First we did a spelling test, and I only got one word wrong and that’s how I got in the school spelling bee,” Birchfield said. “Then I got top 12, and I got into this one.”

Birchfield said he also placed third in the county spelling bee last year.

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