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ACPS Spelling Champion Successfully Defends Her Title

DATE: February 12, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

ACPS Spelling Champion Successfully Defends Her Title; Will Compete in Regional Bee for Fourth Consecutive Year

Matthew Haas, Layla Bouber, Cecilia Schultz Pictured (left to right): Dr. Matthew Haas, ACPS Superintendent; Layla Bouber, 2019 Division Spelling Bee Champion; and Cecilia Schultz, Gifted Resource Teacher at Henley Middle School

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Henley seventh grader, Layla Bouber, successfully defended her title as the Spelling Bee Champion for Albemarle County Public Schools at the school division’s 14th annual Spelling Bee last evening.

For the fourth consecutive year, Layla qualified to represent the county in the Daily Progress Regional Spelling Bee, which will take place on Saturday, March 9, beginning at 10 a.m. at Albemarle High School. That competition will feature the best spellers from public and private schools in the Central Virginia region. The winner of that competition will qualify for the National Bee.

Joining Layla on March 9 will be seven of her colleagues, including last evening’s runner-up, Gray Tracey, a fifth grader who attends Murray Elementary School. Also moving on to the regional bee will be Trisha Hande from Sutherland; Ingrid Flaherty from Burley; Cale’s Paige Lane; Aayushmann Bhattacharyya from Hollymead; Jack Jouett’s Divya Hande; and Ashlyn Zarzyski from Broadus Wood.

“Albemarle County Public Schools certainly will be well represented at the Regional Bee next month,” said Michele Castner, the school division’s Director of Elementary Education. “We are proud of all of our students who participated in spelling bees at their schools this year and of the 21 students last evening who were their school champions,” she said.

The Division Bee took 17 rounds, with Layla and Gray as the two finalists for the final five rounds. The winning word was “harangue,” which means angry speech, with origins from Medieval Latin and French.

“Among the most influential and valuable contemporary skills are literacy and the ability to communicate effectively,” said Castner. “Being able to understand the derivation, meaning and use of words is a powerful component of those skills and points out the timeless value of spelling bees,” she added.

In addition to qualifying for the National Bee as the regional champion next month, students also can earn their way to the finals via RSVBee, an online invitational program now in its second 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. This year, 11 million students across the country will participate. The competition, which will be held in National Harbor, Maryland, begins on Monday, May 27, and will conclude on Thursday, May 30.


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