Next stop the state spelling bee in Jackson, and maybe beyond that someday there will be books to write.

Molly Pearl Clarke, a fifth grade student from Northeast Lauderdale Middle School, won the 2020 Lauderdale County Spelling Bee Friday morning at Meridian Little Theatre.

She won the bee by correctly spelling "marsupial," emerging the winner from 50 contestants in an event that went 20 rounds and lasted a little more than two hours.

Clarke said she was surprised by her victory. When she gets older, she said she would like to be an author.

Clarke will represent Lauderdale County in the state bee. The state winner advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 27-29 in Washington, D.C. 

Emily Snodgrass, an eighth grader from West Lauderdale Middle School, finished second. Logan Britt, a sixth grader from West Lauderdale Middle School, finished third and Jasmine Moore, from Northeast Lauderdale Middle School, finished fourth.

The spelling bee pronouncer was Roy McNeill, assistant principal for Clarkdale High School.

The Meridian Star and the Meridian Little Theatre sponsored the event.

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