4th-Grader Wins 2021 LCPS Spelling Bee

4th-Grader Wins 2021 LCPS Spelling Bee
Posted on 01/27/2021

A couple of months ago, Moss-Nuckols Elementary School fourth-grader Anni Blair was one of about 1,500 students vying for the title of Spelling Bee Champion for Louisa County Public Schools.

On Wednesday, January 27th, during the final moments of the 2021 LCPS Spelling Bee, only one word stood between her and the title: centipede.

Blair was up to the challenge. She confidently spelled the word, earning her the title as this year’s top speller at LCPS. 

Blair was one of 30 spellers who both qualified for and competed in the 2021 LCPS Spelling Bee. Beginning in early December and continuing through January, all four elementary schools in the division, as well as Louisa County Middle School, hosted their own bees for students in grades 3rd-8th. Students who finished as the first or second-place speller in their grade level qualified for the division Bee. Those who finished in third place in their grade levels served as alternates.

Blair earned her spot in the division Bee by finishing first amongst fourth-graders at MNES. Runner-up Nathaniel Blackwell almost managed to win the title after originally qualifying for the division Bee as an alternate by, finishing in third place amongst fifth-grade spellers at Trevilians Elementary School.

During the division Bee, the students battled nerves and pressure inside the Forum at LCMS to conquer a handful of extremely challenging words, successfully rolling through “vanguard,” nocturnal,” and “megahertz.” The students also handled the pressure that comes with an audience, as the event was live-streamed online for the first time in history so parents, family members, teachers, and friends could watch. 

Blair’s triumph came after eight rounds of competition that lasted approximately 82 minutes. Blair spelled “ethanol” correctly and then made her way through “centipede” to take the crown. 

With the win, Blair became the second elementary school student in a row to win the LCPS Spelling Bee. Lillian Raines, then a fifth-grade student at Trevilians Elementary School, took home the title in 2020. 

Afterward, superintendent Doug Straley commended all of the competitors for their performance.

“Every one of the students that participated here tonight was a champion,” Straley said. “They earned their right to be here. I’m so proud of all of them for the hard work and long hours of studying they put in, and it showed because they did a fantastic job.”

As the winner of the 2021 LCPS Spelling Bee, Blair will now move on to compete in the 47th annual Richmond Times-Dispatch Spelling Bee on March 15th. By virtue of finishing as the runner-up, Blackwell will serve as the alternate.

Judges for this year’s Spelling Bee were LCPS Director of Elementary Education Dr. Justin Grigg, and LCPS Director of Secondary Education Tom Smith. Jouett Elementary School librarian Laurie Lammonds served as the pronouncer.

Louisa County Public Schools would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to all of the competitors and sincere thanks to all who viewed the event online!

School Winners/Alternates

Jouett Elementary School

3rd Grade: Emily McGregor, Lucas Jenkins, Julie Hall (Alternate)

4th Grade: Katie Harper, Avery Clough, Lilyanne Wilson (Alternate)

5th Grade: Avery Harpster, Austinlee Crabtree, Cole Goodman (Alternate)

Moss-Nuckols Elementary School

3rd Grade: Kadence LaFontaine, Mia Quarles, Gracie Harlow (Alternate)

4th Grade: Anni Blair, Olivia Nguyen, Juan Arguello (Alternate)

5th Grade: Madison Gholson, Sam Eubank, Savannah Morgner (Alternate)

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

3rd Grade: Makenzie Ramey, Hayden Williams, Jason Purcell (Alternate)

4th Grade: Lilly Hottinger, Jaxon Jones, Garrett Spath (Alternate)

5th Grade: Jaiden Wood, Cora McGinnis, Jeremiah Clendenny (Alternate)

Trevilians Elementary School

3rd Grade: Luke Hodell, Aliahna Cesar, Scarlett Boerman (Alternate)

4th Grade: Dakota Gatton, Abigail Albertson, Solan Barger (Alternate)

5th Grade: Joshua Gaye, Liam Carter, Nathaniel Blackwell (Alternate)

Louisa County Middle School

6th Grade: Rahjir Shelton, Blair Bono, Johaun Ellis (Alternate)

7th Grade: Gabrielle Morency, Audrey Ryan, Lily Hix (Alternate)

8th Grade: Amir Guthrie, Abigail Bryant, Gavin Myers (Alternate)

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