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Rena Humes, a sixth grader at Kennedy Middle School, shares a hug with her mom, Yoon Park Humes, after winning the 2019 Aiken County Scripps National Spelling Bee last year.

The top student spellers from across Aiken County will gather at 7 p.m. Monday on the stage at Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School auditorium stage with a trip to Washington, D.C., on the line.

The student earning the title of Aiken County Scripps Spelling Bee Champion will automatically earn a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The spelling bee had originally been scheduled for earlier in February, but severe weather forced the postponement of Aiken County Public School District events.

“We are so excited that our winner will have the opportunity once again to compete in the national spelling bee,” stated Christin Sosa-Gaston, who is an IPS coordinator in the department of Federal Programs and the District Spelling Bee Director for Aiken County Public Schools. “These students, our top spellers, have worked very hard to be their very best and we are expecting to have a great competition. We certainly want to encourage the community to come out and support these fantastic Aiken County students.”

The 12 competitors in this year’s Aiken County Spelling Bee represent students from fifth grade to eighth grade. Each student advanced to the competition after winning first place or finishing in second place in six group semifinal competitions.

This year’s competitors, representing 10 different schools, are as follows:

• Jayden Avancena, Leavelle McCampbell Middle School.

• Colton Banks, Jefferson Elementary School.

• Sienna Canup, Hammond Hill Elementary School.

• Jaq-Leyah Council, J.D. Lever Elementary School.

• Luke Erskine, North Augusta Middle School.

• Lucille Heath, Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School.

• Rena Humes, Kennedy Middle School.

• Payton Key, Chukker Creek Elementary School.

• Peyton Owenby, Leavelle McCampbell Middle School.

• Bradley Peterson, Kennedy Middle School.

• Zaiid Stroman, New Ellenton Middle STEAM Magnet School.

• Liahona Velez, Aiken Intermediate School.

Alternates for this year’s district spelling bee will compete on stage in the absence of a competitor. Alternates are as follows:

• Aaliyah Anderson, Byrd Elementary School.

• Izabella Brower, Paul Knox Middle School.

• Preston Gillespie, Horse Creek Academy.

• Alyssa McLaurin, A.L. Corbett Middle School.

• Harley Wimberly, Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle School.

• Nicklaus Wylds, Jackson STEM Magnet Middle School.

Amentum, Savannah River Remediation and the Aiken Standard are the sponsors of the 2020 Aiken County Spelling Bee.

​Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.