Great Spelling Bee Returning Feb. 24

(PAOLI) – The fifth Orange County Publishing Great Spelling Bee will hit the stage Sunday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m., at Ruth Farlow Uyesugi Auditorium at Paoli Junior-Senior High School.

Twenty-four young men and women will face off to determine the county’s top speller and who will be moving on in May to join approximately 300 contestants in this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
The winner will follow in the footsteps of the 2015 Orange County Champion, Orleans eighth grader Matthew Ross; the 2016 champion, Orleans seventh grader Dylan Reid; the 2017 champion, Throop Elementary fifth-grader Cameron Apple; and the 2018 champion, Orleans seventh grader Allison Jones.
“Admission is free, and we’re inviting everyone who’d like to come to cheer on their favorite students or school,” said Orange County Publishing Managing Editor and the county bee’s organizer, Miles Flynn.
Flynn will serve as the reader for the event, and judges once again this year will be Sarann Weeks of Paoli, Robert Henderson of Orleans and Todd Marshall of Springs Valley.
Schoolwide bees determine who’s in the countywide contest.
Competitors are:
Paoli Junior High School

  • Cameron Apple
  • Jason Beavers
  • Braydon Crowder
  • Olivia Deaver

Throop Elementary

  • Garrett Cook
  • Kirkland Hughes
  • Rylee McKenna
  • Cora Young

Orleans Junior High

  • Alexis Lamb-Flynn
  • Draygen Pender
  • Mason Swayer
  • Ryan Williams

Orleans Elementary

  • Jayden Blanton
  • Jacelyn Hess
  • Korbin Kidwell
  • Aly Neal

Springs Valley Middle School

  • Kaylee Hall
  • Konner Chase
  • Karson Dalton
  • Lola Pantoja

Springs Valley Elementary

  • Lydia Gossett
  • Addi Moffatt
  • Jake Stillions
  • Matthew Woolsey

The event is also open to homeschoolers if they or their association pay the same enrollment fee schools must pay, but no homeschoolers have taken part.
The winner Feb. 24 will receive a six-night stay for the national event, with all travel, lodging and incidental costs paid.
“We deeply appreciate our funding partners for making this opportunity available for our Orange County youth,” said Flynn. “We thank the Orange County Community Foundation, Orange County REMC Operation Round Up, Springs Valley Bank & Trust Company, Old National Bank, Indiana Natural Gas, Paoli Walmart and the Springs Valley Education Foundation for their partnership.”
Spellers from all around the United States will get to know each other during a barbecue on Memorial Day. Preliminary rounds and the finals will follow, and all participants will get to take part in the awards banquet and farewell party before heading back home.
In addition to the trip, the winner will also receive access to Britannica Online Premium and Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online and the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award with 2019 United States Mint proof set.
The runner-up will receive Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.