The buzz around Payson schools Thursday morning was all about the winners of the Payson Unified School District's spelling bee and who will compete at the county level in Globe in February.
"This was a really fun thing to organize," said Gail Gorry, curriculum coordinator for the district. "We had 48 contributing students, 12 from each of the elementary schools and 12 from Rim Country Middle School."
Emily Price, a seventh-grader at Rim Country Middle School, took first place after eighth-grader Lauren Galholtra failed to spell "malaria" correctly.
The winning word that made Price queen of the hive at the competition held in the Payson High School auditorium Thursday morning was "provolone,"said Gorry.
Judges Bobby Davis, Su Connell and Kathy Kay listened and decided on Thursday's victors.
District Superintendent Casey O'Brien filled the position of head pronouncer.
There were six places in the competition, and the winners were as follows: first place -- Emily Price, second place -- Lauren Galholtra, third place -- Caroline Morse, fourth place -- Alexa Harris, fifth place -- Ben Myer and Sam Grassel will go as alternate.
All of the winners in Thursday's spelling bee go on to compete at the county level, and then the state level if they win in Globe.
For coming out on top Thursday, Price got a spelling game and a $25 gift card from Wal-Mart, and all five other place winners got gift cards in varying amounts as well, said Gorry.
She said the event cost the district a $99 fee per school to compete in the national spelling bee program, but that the county "fortunately" reimbursed the district this year.
She said because of tight budget constraints, it is sometimes hard for the district to come up with the money.
Following the competition in Globe in February, winners will go on to compete at the state level in March, and then the national level in Washington, D.C. the end of May.
"We've never had anyone go to the national level, but maybe this year we will," said Gorry.