The top student spellers from across Aiken County will gather on stage Feb. 6 at the AECOM Center for the Performing Arts 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 competition will begin at 7 p.m.

“We are so excited that our winner will have the opportunity once again to compete in the national spelling bee,” said Christin Sosa-Gaston, who is an IPS coordinator in the Department of Federal Programs and is District Spelling Bee director for Aiken County Public Schools, in a news release. “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.

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

​Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.