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February 1, 2016

Kyra Holland wins 10th county spelling bee

She is very motivated. It’s a great way to go out, and she has worked so hard for this.
— Kyra Holland's mother, Joyce Jones
County Spelling Bee Champions
• 2016 — Kyra Holland, Marshall Middle School

• 2015 — Kyra Lucas, Bradley Elementary School

• 2014 — Kyra Holland, Marshall Middle School

• 2013 — Andrew Marino, Warrenton Middle School

• 2012 — Andrew Marino, Warrenton Middle School

• 2011 — Andrew Marino, Warrenton Middle School

• 2010 — Andrew Marino, Brumfield Elementary School

• 2009 — Michelle McClanahan, Taylor Middle School

• 2008 — Ryan Nary, Taylor Middle School

• 2007 — Hana Pross, Coleman Elementary School
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Forty-five nervous, yet confident students filled the Taylor Middle School auditorium’s stage to compete in Fauquier’s 10th annual spelling bee Saturday.

A sporting event for the mind, the spelling bee included students from 11 elementary and five middle schools who qualified by winning their building or grade-level competitions.

“Some of the words are quite difficult,” said Steven Payne, county school system supervisor of English and reading. “The students who take it seriously have a sophisticated level of knowledge. I did not know there were words derived from Russian and Japanese.”

Students in second through eighth grade exhibited self-assurance as they swept through the first three rounds.

But, Kyra Lucas, the 2015 champion, stumbled on “amalgam” during the third round.

With an expression of disbelief, Kyra took a seat early.

Spelling bee organizer John Lucas and pronouncer Eileen Burgwyn chose word lists from the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“Children need to have lots of avenues to shine,” Dr. Burgwyn said.

By the 12th round, two spellers remained: Savannah Paap and 2014 champion Kyra Holland.

Savannah visualized the words by pretending to write on her palm.

The two eighth-graders quickly battled for six rounds.





Par excellence.




Savannah, an eighth-grader at Taylor Middle School, stumbled on “nascent” in Round 18.

After 19 rounds and 90 minutes, Kyra prevailed — again.

With a smile, laugh and sigh of relief, the Marshall Middle School student spelled “obelisk” and then “gossamer” correctly to clinch the win.

Savannah offered a congratulatory clap and the two contestants shook hands.

“You were amazing,” Savannah said to Kyra as the audience applauded.

“I’m really happy because last year sucked,” said Kyra, 14.

To prepare this year, she began studying over winter break for up to two hours every night.

A participant in the countywide spelling bee since third grade, she said studying root words helped her improve.

“I want to thank my mom, because she has studied for six years with me basically every night,” Kyra said.

Besides spelling, she enjoys playing travel soccer, cross-country and volleyball.

Kyra’s mother, Joyce Jones said she never forced her daughter to compete.

“She is very motivated,” Ms. Jones said. “It’s a great way to go out, and she has worked so hard for this.”

Kyra planned to celebrate her win with a trip to Sweet Frog for frozen yogurt.

Kyra and Savannah will advance to the 11th annual Free Lance-Star Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 5, at James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg.

The regional winner will qualify for the 89th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, starting May 24 in Maryland.
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