Two Lakeside High School students rebounded from disappointment last year and walked away with state spelling championship honors.
Kenny Kay, 17, and Violet Pu, hit a slam dunk at the Georgia High School Association Literary Competition March 16, bringing home the boys and girls state spelling championship awards.
"It's kind of unique in that we had two state champions from the same high school," said Charles Heywood, who escorted the students to the event.
Last year the two won region and went on to the state competition, but because of a transportation mix-up, they didn't get to the competition on time.
"We got there when they were half-way done reading the words," Kenny said. "But that's the way it happens. You can't have too many regrets."
What is regretful is the fact that a win last year could have given the school enough points to win the overall championship. The school was not in that position this year.
"It was a sweet victory," said Violet.
"It was bitter-sweet, because we could have won last year," Kenny said.
In the competition, the two had to spell and write in cursive 100 words which were called out to them, words like thaumaturgy, furcula, slumgullion and fenestration.
Both said they learned to spell through their extensive reading. Violet has won the regional spelling championship all four years in high school.
"Studying implies that it's something short term," Kenny said. "It's just through reading - reading more advanced test, something more adventurous that you would normally read."
Violet, who plans to study art history, said she regularly reads periodicals such as the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.
"If you just stick with the stuff you are given in school, you won't learn enough," she said.
For winning the state championship, they both got a t-shirt and a medal. But it's the joy of winning that means so much, especially for these two. Heywood said last year's disappointment only strengthened their resolve to win.
"There are very few times in life when you get a second chance," he said. "They did and they won the state championship."
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