Debacle spells victory, defeat for Ark. 6th-grader

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Sixth-grader Morgan Sims knew how to
spell "debacle," but she got an unfortunate lesson on its meaning
when her northern Arkansas school district forgot a spelling bee
entry fee.
Morgan correctly spelled "debacle" - meaning failure, in an
often ludicrous way - to win the Craighead County Spelling Bee on
Friday, taking home the first-place trophy and a $200 savings bond.
But her school forgot to pay a $100 per-building entry fee to
the Scripps National Spelling Bee, said Craighead County School
District coordinator Sandra Taylor. The upfront fee is optional for
the county bee but is required to advance to the state competition.
"She won the county. I'm proud of that," superintendent George
Edd Holland told The Jonesboro Sun newspaper. "It's unfortunate
she can't compete at the next level.
He didn't know why the junior high building was the only one
registered. "I was caught off guard. I assumed we were fully
eligible," Holland said. He added all buildings will be from now
Morgan, who attends Buffalo Island Central's West Elementary
School, told the newspaper she was excited for her victory after
making the second round in the county bee last year.
"I was here last year and was hoping to win. I'm so glad I
did," she said.
The second-place finisher is heading to the state compeition
instead. Elizabeth Kaffka, a fifth-grader at Valley View
Intermediate, seemed a bit blase about her sudden turn of fortunes.
"I think I will spend the rest of the day playing my video
games," she said after the contest. "Maybe Pokemon."

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