The huge grin that spread across young Taylor Goss' face was a sure hint that he could spell "ostentation."
Sure enough, the Rim Country Middle School sixth-grader spelled the word correctly. Then he spelled "scrutiny," which won him first place in the Payson Unified School District's spelling bee, held Jan. 20 in the Payson High School auditorium.
Almost as quickly as the youngster received his first-place medal and a Godzilla-sized copy of "The American Dictionary," he was scooting off the stage to accept congratulatory hugs from his mother, Karen Goss.
"Did you see me, mom?" he asked. "I knew I was going to win. Did you?"
In spelling his way to first place, young Goss defeated runner-up Cassandra Paric of Julia Randall Elementary School and third-place finisher Jacquelyn Oesterblad of RCMS. Payson Elementary School students Tyler Marr and Tori Riemersma tied for fourth. Emily Price of JRE took sixth.
Those students earned the right to represent PUSD in the Gila County spelling bee to be held Feb. 11 at High Desert Middle School in Globe. The bee begins at 1 p.m.
Winners there advance to the Arizona state spelling bee.
The 48 PUSD elementary and middle school students who participated in the district-wide bee qualified at spell-offs held earlier at their schools.
Throughout the more than two-hour-long bee, Payson High School principal Sue Meyers precisely pronounced the spelling words and provided definitions for those students who asked.
Frontier Elementary School principal Gail Gorry kept a sharp eye on the proceedings seeing they were run precisely and according to the rules.
The judges included newly elected school board member Charles Brown, Kiwanis Club President Lucinda Campbell and Kally Flibotte of the Rim Country Literacy Program.