Among the spelling bee winners and alternates who will be reporting to the Cleburne ISD Central Offices for Thursday’s Johnson County spelling contest will be a sister and brother duo from Gerard Elementary School.
The county spelling bee, involving nine CISD campus champions, along with representatives from public and private schools in neighboring districts, is set for 10 a.m. in the Central Offices Board Room.
Fifth-grader Samantha Miller and fourth-grader Zachary Miller are the No. 1 and 2 spellers from Gerard, after their campus spelling bee in December.
Both were their classroom’s spelling bee champions in qualifying for the campus competition, in which Samantha eventually won by successfully spelling “unctuous.” It was her third year to compete as a classroom winner and the second year for Zachary.
“I was a little worried when it got down to a few of us left,” Zachary said. “I thought, what if I win — or she wins? There might be a little family ‘thing’ going on. But it all turned out good.”
The siblings agree that the outcome was indeed a good one, as this is Samantha’s last year in elementary school.
“This has been a goal of mine for a long time,” Samantha said. “I wanted to win the spelling bee because this is my last year at Gerard. I know you can also compete in middle school, but I am very excited to be representing Gerard.”
“I have one more year here, so I’m going to think about winning next year,” her brother said. “I’m excited for Samantha — and nervous for her. I really want her to win — very much.”
In addition to competing together in spelling, the two are involved in competitive tennis, as participants in U.S. Tennis Association Zonal Advancement Tournaments. Because of their age difference — they are 16 months apart — they rarely compete against each other, but often face off across the net in family matches.