The word he was given was “elaborative.”
Castillo, a Calhoun Middle School student, took a moment to think. Elaborative. Elaborative.
Then he leaned into the microphone and aced it.
And just like that, Castillo was the champion of Monday’s Calhoun City Schools Spelling Bee held at Calhoun Middle School.
“I’ve been doing this four years in a row and it’s taken until the fourth year to win it,” Castillo said. “I study a lot. I’ve heard so many words and I’ve tried to spell them.”
The event featured some of the top spellers from CMS and a few from Calhoun Elementary.
In all, 19 students participated in the event but only one would be crowned champion and given the honor of competing at the district bee in Rome next month.
The contest is based on the national Scripps Howard Competition.
The contestants battled it out for 13 rounds and Castillo narrowly edged Aubrey Marbutt in the finals.
“I’ve never made it to the final round,” Castillo said.
Marbutt, Castillo, Leif Murphy and Rena Patel made up the final four. Most of the competitors made it through the first three rounds, but by round four only eight remained.
One round later, it was down to the final four.
In the seventh round, only Castillo and Marbutt remained and they battled it out for another six rounds before Castillo gained the win.
“They did a great job,” said Kris Gray, sponsor of the spelling bee. “It’s tough to stand up in front of so many people and spell.” The District One Spelling Be will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 in the Board Room at the Floyd County Board of Education on Riverside Parkway in Rome.