A total of 21 champion student spellers will be competing next week in Albemarle County Public Schools’ 17th annual Spelling Bee, the next step on the road to the Scripps National Spelling Bee from May 30 – June 1 in Maryland.
On Tuesday, January 31, champions from each of the division’s 15 elementary schools will compete in the Elementary School Bee, which will take place at 6 p.m. in Lane Auditorium at the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville. The next evening, February 1, the six individual middle school champions will compete in the auditorium at Albemarle High School, also at 6 p.m. The top three spellers from each of the two competitions will qualify for the Central Virginia Regional Spelling Bee, which will be held on March 11 at Albemarle High School.
The Regional Bee will include 26 students from eight regional school divisions and seven private schools. The winner of this event will qualify for the national bee at National Harbor in Maryland.
Over the past few months, more than a thousand students in grades 3-8 competed in their school-wide spelling bees. Each of the division’s 15 elementary schools conducted their own competition to determine who would represent their school. Champions include Tyler Underwood from Agnor-Hurt; Vihaan Rastogi from Baker-Butler; Broadus Wood’s Hanna Belander; Brownsville’s Hadley Viele; and Erin Chern from Crozet. Also, Robert Klapmust from Greer (for the second consecutive year); Tyler Miller from Hollymead; and Meriwether Lewis’ Tucker Richmond. Mountain View will be represented by Arya Akbar and Murray by Ayana Schork. Red Hill’s representative is Jaden Henry, and Aaisley Gibson is from Scottsville. Also participating will be Stone-Robinson’s Graysen Wickline; Stony Point’s Bryce Hartman; and Ben Bristow from Woodbrook.
Among the middle schools, one student who was in the regional bee a year ago, Claire Meng, will seek to return to the regional bee; she represents Lakeside. Also, Audrey Ishler from Burley; Curtis Carter from Community Lab; Henley’s Saurish Srimath; Journey’s Juyoung Lee; and Eden Artz from Walton.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program, dating back to 1925. It promotes the bee as “inspiring the exploration of words, illuminating pathways to lifelong curiosity.”
Each year, more than 11 million students participate in the competition. The 2022 winner was Harini Logan from San Antonio, Texas, who was the first student in the program’s history to win the title in a spell-off. This format challenges competitors to spell as many words correctly as they can in a short among of time. Harini was able to correctly spell 22 words in 90 seconds, or one word every four seconds. The winning word was moorhen, which is a female red grouse.
The pronouncer for next week’s division spelling bees will be popular local radio music host Sherry Taylor from Z95.1. Judges for the elementary bee include Kelvin Reid, who directs the division’s Extended Day Enrichment Programs; Graham Paige, the Samuel Miller representative on the School Board; and Bea Lapisto-Kirtley, who represents the Rivanna District on the Board of Supervisors. Judges for the middle school bee will be Mr. Reid; Mr. Paige; and Lori Rocco, who is a leadership teacher at Monticello High School.
Both spelling bees will be livestreamed. The livestream link for the January 31 elementary school bee is http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/acpsevents.htm, and the middle school bee on Wednesday, February 1, can be viewed live at http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/ahsevents.htm.
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer