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Local student keeps head up high after bee

March 4, 2014

BY JUSTIN MINYARD
news@dailytimesleader.com

Although West Point Fifth Street School Student Synethia Mathews said she was disappointed in her third-round loss at the Mid-South Spelling Bee in Memphis, Tenn., she was not disappointed that her state would be represented at the upcoming National Scripps Spelling Bee.
Mathews brought home first place at the West Point School District Spelling Bee Feb. 4, which marked her spot at the Mid-South Spelling Bee in Memphis where she would compete against 48 students for a chance at first place.
But, Synethia said that although first place would have been ideal, her goal was a modest one.
“I wanted to place in the top 10,” Mathews said.
Synethia and her mother Cynthia Mathews were both expecting a larger crowd at the Al Chymia Shrine Center in Memphis, but were surprised upon arrival Saturday. Cynthia said the crowd was a little smaller than both she and Mathews had expected.
Not that the size of the crowd mattered, that is. Cynthia said Mathews has always been exemplary in her performances in front of crowds.
“I don’t think the crowd even fazed her,” Cynthia said.
It was the pronunciation that stumbled Mathews in the third round, she and her mother said, which ultimately resulted in her loss. Mathews said the judge’s pronunciation of the word “clapboard” threw her for a loop.
“I was surprised — that was it,” Mathews said of her reaction.
“For some reason, the easy words are the ones that get you,” Cynthia said. “When I saw her face and her rolling her eyes, I thought, ‘Uh oh.’ It’s one of those words that trip you up, and that’s what it did.”

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