HAGERSTOWN -- Charles Smith was not derelict in his spelling Saturday, and in fact, managed to spell "derelict" correctly in the third round of the eighth-grade contest Saturday afternoon at the 29th annual Washington County Spelling Bee at Western Heights Middle School.
Moments later, Charles spelled "dechlorinate" in the fourth round to win the competition.
Charles, last year's seventh-grade winner and a student at Hancock Middle-Senior High School, will represent the area at the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee May 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C.
The local spelling bee is sponsored by The Herald-Mail. Students from grades six through eight competed in three separate contests, one for each grade level.
While Charles handily won the eighth-grade contest in four rounds, the competition was more fierce in the sixth-grade contest.
After the 18 other students misspelled words in the first few rounds, Joanne Lee of Smithsburg Middle School and Katherine Fowler of Northern Middle School continued spelling for another 10 rounds.