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Buddy Taylor Middle’s Keelin Cowart-Goldberg Is Flagler’s 2018 Spelling Champion

| January 19, 2018

Buddy Taylor Middle School Principal John Fanelli has reason to be proud, as the winner of the 2018 county spelling be, 8th grader Keelin Cowart-Goldberg, left, and the runnerup, 7th grader Alisha Jageswar, are both his students. (Flagler Schools)

Buddy Taylor Middle School Principal John Fanelli has reason to be proud, as the winner of the 2018 county spelling be, 8th grader Keelin Cowart-Goldberg, left, and the runnerup, 7th grader Alisha Jageswar, are both his students. (Flagler Schools)

According to Merriam-Webster, the word avocations means “subordinate occupations pursued in addition to one’s vocation especially for enjoyment; hobbies.” For Buddy Taylor Middle School 8th grader Keelin Cowart-Goldberg, one of her avocations might be spelling. She walked off the stage at Wadsworth Elementary School as the 2018 Flagler School District Spelling Bee champion Thursday night after correctly spelling “avocations.” She now moves on to the Regional Spelling Bee, to be held in Jacksonville on March 9th.


Following the trophy presentation, Keelin was relieved. When asked what was going through her mind when that Championship Round word came up, after seven previous rounds, Keelin said it was–“Am I doing this right? Because I did not know whatsoever what I was doing.” She admitted she was not certain of the correct spelling of that championship word.

As she prepares for the Regional Championship, Keelin doesn’t have to travel far to find a study partner. Buddy Taylor Middle School 7th grader Alisha Jageswar was the runner-up. The two happen to share the same school bus too! Alisha failed to properly spell “sanguine.” However, Alisha remained sanguine (confident, optimistic) of success. Since Alisha is a 7th grader, she has one more year to compete. Ironically, Alisha was Buddy Taylor’s spelling champion and Keelin was the runner-up!

“Flagler Schools congratulates all 14 school representatives for giving everyone in the audience a great show and we wish Keelin the best of luck as she moves on, towards a possible spot in the National Spelling Bee in the Washington, DC area later this spring,” the district stated in a release.

The following are other schools’ winners this year: 

Indian Trails Middle School

8th Grade: Sean Gilliam
7th Grade: Shawn Zhudro

Belle Terre Elementary School

6th Grade: Eliza Somerville
5th Grade: Chevaney Chandradat

Bunnell Elementary School

6th Grade: Heather Muriello                          
5th Grade: Jalin Basham

Rymfire Elementary School

6th Grade: Abiel Tucker
5th Grade: William Bass

Wadsworth Elementary School

6th Grade: Kaylee Nevico
5th Grade: Jamilya Dvornikova

Old Kings Elementary School

6th Grade: Ozzie White  
5th Grade: Kailee Smith

JaxSports is the district’s regional sponsor. The 74th Annual First Coast Regional Spelling Bee will be held on March 9 at the Florida Theater Jacksonville and will be broadcast live.

And here’s a list of the words used in the competition, with thanks to Jason Wheeler:

Vampire

Timely

Sugar

Workmanship

Bandit

Frolic

Buffalo

Ditto

scrabble

Ballot

Cruiser

Ninja

Easel

Handsome

Icicle

Cordial

Peroxide

Amputation

Miracle

Contagious

Alacrity

Reservoir

Orchids

Despondency

Azalea

Flabbergasted

Linoleum

Sophomore

Claustrophobic

Impeccable

Stevedores

Repugnance

Vociferous

Generalissimo

Strenuous

Sherpa

Voluminous

Incarcerated

Monomania

Extenuation

Atrocity

Memorandum

Pastrami

Hallucinations

Conspicuous

Financiers

Tempestuous

Excruciating

Treacherous

Uncoquettish

Disquisition

Requisites

Annexation

Lassitude

Bilious

Grotesque

Sanguine

Avocations

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4 Responses for “Buddy Taylor Middle’s Keelin Cowart-Goldberg Is Flagler’s 2018 Spelling Champion”

  1. Layla says:

    Wow, good job and congratulations!

  2. BlueJammer says:

    Outstanding accomplishments! Congratulations to all award winners! Good luck in the regional!

  3. Really says:

    Nice job kiddos

  4. palmcoaster says:

    Hooray for those girls!

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