Orange County’s Great Spelling Bee is Sunday, Feb. 23.

(PAOLI) – For the sixth consecutive year, Orange County’s top spellers will face off in a county championship to see who will be moving on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 24-30.

Orange County’s Great Spelling Bee, originated by Orange County Publishing in 2015, will return Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m., at Ruth Farlow Uyesugi Auditorium at Paoli Junior-Senior High School.

In all, 24 young men and women will compete that day for the chance to join approximately 300 other contestants from across the United States in the national contest.

The 2020 Orange County winner will follow in the footsteps of Matthew Ross of Orleans, Dylan Reid of Orleans, Cameron Apple of Paoli, Allison Jones of Orleans and Braydon Crowder of Paoli.

Orange County Publishing Managing Editor and the county bee’s organizer, Miles Flynn

“In fact, two of those former champions, Cameron Apple and Braydon Crowder, are back in the field for 2020 in their final year of eligibility as eighth-graders,” said Orange County Publishing Managing Editor and the county bee’s organizer, Miles Flynn. “There’s no charge for admission, and we’re hoping a big crowd turns out to cheer on their favorite students or school.”

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 determined who’s in the countywide contest.

Representing Springs Valley Middle School:

  • Noah Aylsworth
  • Karson Dalton
  • Josie Robison
  • Matthew Woolsey

Finalists from Springs Valley Elementary School:

  • Landon Cheatham
  • Aubrey Corn
  • Lydia Gossett
  • Addi Moffatt

Top finishers from Paoli Junior High Schoo:

  • Cameron Apple
  • Braydon Crowder
  • Jericho Hopper
  • Trinity Thompson

Moving on from Throop Elementary School:

  • Garrett Cook
  • Dakota Mousty
  • Colton Scott
  • Bella Tate

Orleans Junior-Senior High School finalists:

  • Peyton Gulley
  • Korbin Kidwell
  • Xander Mitchell
  • Mason Swayer

Advancing from Orleans Elementary School:

  • Trenton Bush
  • Sarah Hester
  • Kinsey Saliba
  • Adalyn Steele

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 of Orange County’s Great Spelling Bee and one parent or guardian will receive a six-night stay for the national event, with all approved travel, lodging and incidental costs paid.

“This opportunity simply wouldn’t be available without our generous funding partners,” said Flynn. “We thank Orange County REMC Operation Round Up, the Orange County Community Foundation, Springs Valley Bank & Trust Company, Old National Bank, Indiana Natural Gas, Umpleby Attorneys and the Springs Valley Education Foundation for their commitment to local youth.”

Scripps National Spelling Bee competitors will get acquainted 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. Plus, he or she will also receive the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award with a 2020 United States Mint proof set.

The runner-up will receive Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.