For Kaitlynn Haney, the third time proved to be - yes, the proverbial charm at the Aiken County School District Spelling Bee. As a Jefferson Elementary School fifth-grader two years ago, Kaitlynn earned a trip to the Aiken County School District Spelling Bee - and finished "dead last," she said with a grin. She won the Area 3 Spelling Bee a second time in 2008 and at the district event, took second in a 30-minute battle with eventual winner William Harris of Paul Knox Middle School. This time, still another Area 3 title behind her, there was no stopping Kaitlynn, now an LBC Middle School seventh-grader. But runner-up, Tristan Brown of Schofield Middle School, and Payton Carter of St. Mary Help of Christian school and other competitors put up a valiant effort. The contest was sponsored by the school district, URS Corporation, Washington Savannah River Company and the Aiken Standard. Kaitlynn received a Dell laptop from URS and WSRC. The companies also awarded $100 gift certificates to all 10 students to Books-A-Million. Kaitlynn and Tristan received trophies from the Aiken Standard. The other competitors were Mary Kate Jenkins and Jesse Suggs, Paul Knox Middle School; William Hardy, Leavelle McCampbell Middle School; Taylor Sims, A.L. Corbett Middle School; Marquis Anderson, RS-M Middle School; and Ashley Partin and James Pike of Jackson Middle School. The alternates were Kristin Livingston, South Aiken Baptist School; Jessalyn Brantley, Belvedere Elementary School; Austin Morris, Leavelle McCampbell Middle School; Tialeisha Corley, Busbee Elementary School; and Jaycie Ward, Redcliffe Elementary School. When the students were down to three, Payton went out on the word cantata. Kaitlynn and Tristan successfully got through ridiculous, gondola, stoic, mirage, iguana, mongrel, influenza, paradox, manicure, trawl, strategy, castanets and wiseacre. Tristan then misspelled "Kremlin." Kaitlynn correctly got through origami and then won with the word "aliens." Afterward, she readily admitted that she nearly went out much earlier on the word "totem." "I wanted to put a "d" in it, but I went with my first instinct," Kaitlynn said. "I felt confident a little, but I didn't know half the words he (Tristan) had to spell." Ellen Cotton, Kaitlynn's gifted and talented teacher at Jefferson two years ago, attended the Spelling Bee a year ago and wasn't about to miss this one. "Kaitlynn is wonderful," Cotton said. "She's always been special and can anything she wants to do. I knew she would do this tonight. I like to keep track of all my kids, especially when they're doing great things. She's a good kid." Michele Conner, the school district's elementary education coordinator, directed the Spelling Bee. Serving as judges were district educators Dr. Rosa Ishmal and Sharon Kahl and Tim O'Briant, the Aiken Standard news editor. Serving as pronouncer was Charlie Tyler, also a district staff member. The master of ceremonies was Brad Means, WJBF-TV newscaster. Dean Campbell, a WSRC media spokesman, said URS and WSRC appreciated the opportunity to help sponsor the event. "I'm proud of our young people, and this is one way we like to show it," he said. "We enjoy being here and being part of the community." Contact Rob Novit at firstname.lastname@example.org.