AP NEWS

Spelling champ will advance to national bee in Washington

January 28, 2018 GMT

The top student spellers from across Aiken County will gather on stage at 7 p.m. Monday at the AECOM Center for the Performing Arts with even more motivation and incentive to win the county spelling bee than normal.

For the first time, the student named Aiken County Spelling Bee champion automatically will earn a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, to be held in February in Washington, D.C. In previous years, only regional winners advanced to the national competition.

“That’s the biggest difference this year in that we know our winner will be competing in the national spelling bee, which is very exciting,” said Christin Sosa-Gaston, who is an IPS Coordinator in the department of Federal Programs and the district spelling bee director for Aiken County Public Schools. “We have terrific students and spellers who will be competing on Monday, and we expect it to be a great competition. We certainly want to encourage the community to come out and support these fantastic Aiken County students.”

The thirteen competitors in this year’s Aiken County Spelling bee represent students from fifth grade to eighth grade.

This year’s competitors include the following students, representing 11 different schools:

• Gwendolynn Adkins, Horse Creek Academy

• Maria Adkinson, Paul Knox Middle School

• Michael Bell, Kennedy Middle School

• Tucker Bryan, Chukker Creek Elementary School

• Cassidy Green, Kennedy Middle School

• Rena Humes, J.D. Lever Elementary School

• Elisabeth Huezo, New Ellenton STEAM Middle School

• Jessica Johnson, Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle School

• Treasure King, Jackson STEM Middle School

• Briana Nabriat, Leavelle McCampbell Middle School

• Ellis Waters, North Augusta Middle School

• Mykeria Williams, Leavelle McCampbell Middle School

• Mallory Zinger, Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School

Alternates for this year’s district spelling bee, who will compete on stage in the absence of a competitor, include the following students:

• Asia Greathouse, Aiken Elementary School

• Allie Gardiner, North Augusta Middle School

• Leilani Griffith, Clearwater Elementary School

• Chance Sanders, North Aiken Elementary

• Meagan Fortune, Busbee Corbett Elementary/Middle School.

AECOM, Savannah River Remediation, and The Aiken Standard are the sponsors of the 2018 Aiken County Spelling Bee.