Credit: Credit: Albemarle County Public Schools

Albemarle County Public Schools Will Livestream “Competition of (Spelling Bee) Champions” on Monday Evening, Feb. 5 

One day after Sunday’s Super Bowl, Albemarle County Public Schools will hold its own “Competition of Champions,” when 20 students from the division’s elementary and middle schools will face off in the 13th annual divisional Spelling Bee. More than 6,000 students in grades 3-8 were eligible this year for the divisional bee, which will feature those students who earned the top honor in their individual school competition. Monday evening’s event will be held in Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville, beginning at 6 p.m.

The event will be livestreamed at:

Students who place within the top eight on Monday night will qualify for the Central Virginia regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 3 in the Albemarle High School auditorium.

Four winners from 2017 are returning, including Grace Caramanis, a Walton Middle School student who won the 2015 divisional bee as a Cale Elementary School student.

Joining Grace will be Layla Bouber, who was the representative from Meriwether Lewis Elementary School last year, but will be representing Henley Middle School on Monday; Vincent Cirillo, who will be representing Scottsville Elementary School for the second consecutive year; and Renae George, Sutherland Middle School’s repeat winner.

Maureen Jensen, the division’s lead instructional coach for K-12 language arts, notes that even in the age of digital spell checks, the ability to spell without a computer remains an important academic skill.

“Being a good speller usually is indicative of a student who is very well-read, which is such a valuable foundation to all learning,” she said. “I’m also always highly impressed by the poise and maturity that students display during this competition. That shows up not just in their ability to be thoughtful and deliberative under pressure, but also in the support and encouragement they offer their peers, who after all are competing against them.”

Alison Dwier-Selden, the division’s lead instructional coach for professional development pointed out another key academic quality revealed in a spelling bee: “Doing well requires a student to understand the history of a word, its derivation, its origin, and meaning. There are word patterns that can predict how a word is spelled. These students have an excellent grasp of the development of the English language,” she said.

Among the four judges for Monday evening’s Spelling Bee are Albemarle County Supervisor Diantha McKeel, who represents the Jack Jouett Magisterial District; Daphne Keiser, CATEC’s director; Niya Bates, public historian of Slavery and African-American Life at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation; and Price Thomas, who is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Montpelier Foundation.

In addition to Grace Caramanis, Layla Bouber, Renae George, and Vincent Cirillo, other school champions competing on Monday include:

Adrienne Boyd, Agnor-Hurt Elementary School

Carson Grover, Baker-Butler Elementary School

Ashlyn Zarzyski, Broadus Wood Elementary School

Claire Ke, Brownsville Elementary School

Kendal Asplin, Cale Elementary School

Gurmat Saini, Crozet Elementary School

Estella Glover, Greer Elementary School

Trisha Hande, Hollymead Elementary School

Taylor Florin, Meriwether Lewis Elementary School

Matthew Lapinsky, Murray Elementary School

Maxim Ouchchy, Red Hill Elementary School

Sophie Hicks, Stone-Robinson Elementary School

Laveen Hiranandani, Stony Point Elementary School

Miriam Lake, Woodbrook Elementary School

Cole Bruen, Burley Middle School

Virginia Lake, Jack Jouett Middle School

The National Spelling Bee began in 1925, and of the 96 national winners since that time, two have been Virginia students: Daniel Greenblatt won in 1984, and Amanda Goad was the 1992 national champion. More than 11 million students across the country participate in the Bee each year. The 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee will be held between May 27 and June 1 at National Harbor, Maryland.