Isabel Hernandez, a seventh grade student at Butterfield Trail Middle School, will represent Crawford County at the Arkansas Spelling Bee on Saturday on the campus of Central Baptist College in Conway.

Isabel, the daughter of Sarah Wells, won the county title on Jan. 27 after correctly spelling the word “academy” in the 11th round. Fifty-eight contestants from 15 county schools qualified to compete.

The 2018 bee was Isabel’s second Crawford County Spelling Bee competition.

Generations Bank and the Van Buren School District sponsored the Crawford County Spelling Bee. Peggy Pierson from Generations Bank was on hand to present Hernandez and runner-up Christian Woodward with cash awards.

Generations Bank also provided all contestants with a T-shirt and helps the winner with travel expenses related to the state bee.

Jennifer Prado, teacher and instructional facilitator at Van Buren High School, served as the coordinator for the Crawford County Spelling Bee. Jennifer Jennings Davis, executive director of Education Renewal Zone and STEM Education Center, served as this year’s announcer.

Misty Christian, Mountainburg High School Computer Applications instructor, Missy Hefner, Van Buren High School English teacher, and Rhonda Jennings, a volunteer with Crawford County Volunteers for Literacy servedv as judges.

Prado pointed out that the words in the first round of this year’s county bee were very difficult.

“Reservoir, generalissimo, monomania, claustrophobic and crematoria were included in the list of words contestants were asked to spell, Prado said. “Additionally, students had to identify the correct definition or use of a word in the vocabulary round.”

She noted the students have to study hard to prepare for the spelling bee.

“They are given lists of potential words, but they also have to understand root words, word origins, and other spelling conventions so they can spell words that aren’t on the list,” Prado said.

She said organizers are blessed in Crawford County to have Generations Bank to sponsor the event.

“Generations Bank supports our spellers all the way through the state bee, and have been doing so for a number of years,” she said. “Not many other bees in the area have that kind of community support.”

She said the spelling bee is a countywide effort.

“Generations Bank, the staff of the Van Buren Fine Arts Center, teachers, families, administrators, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, high school volunteers, and local libraries all work together to make this a successful event,” Prado said.