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15th Annual Spelling Bee Will Be Held February 12

DATE: February 11, 2020
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

The Best of the Best: 21 Champion Spellers Representing All Elementary & Middle Schools Will Compete for the Division’s Championship This Wednesday Evening

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The 15th annual division-wide Spelling Bee will be held this Wednesday evening, beginning at 6:00 in Lane Auditorium inside the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville. The competition among 21 champion scholars from 15 elementary schools and six middle schools will also be video live-streamed at

More than a thousand students in grades 3-8 competed in their school-wide spelling bees beginning this past November. The 21 winners will be on stage this Wednesday.

Among them will be Layla Bouber, who has won the division title the past two years and has qualified for the Regional Spelling Bee the past four years. The top six finishers this year will qualify for the Regional Bee, which will feature more than 20 school divisions and private schools from throughout Central Virginia. The Regional Bee will be held on Saturday, March 7, beginning at 10 a.m. at Albemarle High School.

Layla again will be representing Henley Middle School. Also returning from last year’s Regional Bee will be Ingrid Flaherty from Burley Middle School (her brother Ezra will be representing Cale Elementary School) and Paige Lane, who won Crozet Elementary School’s competition this year.

Winners of individual school competitions also included:

Louis DeFranzo from Agnor-Hurt; Amalia Johnson-Villalobos from Baker-Butler; Grayson Hatcher from Broadus-Wood, Max Alhusen from Brownsville; and Angel Mcdonald from the Community Public Charter School.

Also, Ali Younus from Greer; Alicia Jiang from Hollymead; Elizabeth Frysinger from Jouett; Hayden Castle from Meriwether Lewis; Rudy Acharya from Murray Elementary School; Peter Monroe from Red Hill; and Christian Cirillo, who will represent Scottsville.

Also, Audrey Ishler from Stone-Robinson; Charles Hall from Stony Point; Lucas Guerra from Sutherland; Kavan Wills from Walton; and Sophia Aylor from Woodbrook.

Mrs. Kathy Sublette, who taught English at Western Albemarle High School for more than 30 years, will serve as the Pronouncer for the division bee on Wednesday evening. Dr. Ned Gallaway, Chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, will be joined by Kelvin Reid, who directs the school division’s Extended Day Enrichment Programs and by Marsha Howard, a retired school administrator, as judges.

The winner of the regional competition will qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be held this year during the week of May 24-29 in National Harbor, Maryland.

In addition to qualifying for the National Spelling Bee as a regional champion, students also can earn their way to the finals via RSVBee, an online invitational program now in its third year. To be eligible, a student must attend a school enrolled in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program and have been a community or school champion.

The 2018 National Spelling Bee champion, Karthik Nemmani of McKinney, Texas, qualified for the National Bee through the RSVBee program. Information on the program is available at

The National Bee began in 1925. In 2019, for the first time ever, the national championship was a group award, shared by eight students. This year, more than 11 million students across the country will participate. The competition, which will be held in National Harbor, Maryland, takes place the week of Memorial Day, May 24-29. For more information on the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company, visit



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