Twenty-two young spellers representing Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park will compete Tuesday, March 9, for the right to represent the community at the Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer.
The spellers all won elementary or middle school spelling bees or home-school association bees to advance to the regional bee, presented by InsideNoVa/Prince William and the Bel-Air Woman’s Club. Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is an additional sponsor of this year’s bee.
Tuesday’s regional bee will be at Gar-Field High School, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not open to the public. The event will be covered by InsideNoVa, with complete details and photos online and in next week’s edition of InsideNoVa/Prince William.
Two-time defending champion Devan Waghray is not eligible for the 2021 competition, which is open only to students through eighth grade. After winning the Prince William Bee in 2019, Waghray did not misspell a word on stage at the national bee but was eliminated based on results of written tests. The national bee was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
One of last year’s top five finishers, Isaac Long, an eighth-grader representing Woodbridge Area Classical Conversations, will be competing again this year. The field also includes one third-grade student, Henry Tobin of Rockledge Elementary School, who is 8 years old, and two fourth-graders, both of whom are 9: Arianne Owusu of Pennington School and Danielle Awanu of Montclair Elementary School.
The winner of the Prince William Regional Spelling Bee will advance to the national spelling bee. The first rounds of this year’s national spelling bee will be held virtually, with finalists advancing to an in-person competition in Orlando, Fla., in early July.