Harrison County Spelling Bee leads to the national stage

Published: Jan. 8, 2020 at 9:55 PM EST
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Nerves were high but excitement was in the air at Liberty High School at the Harrison County School District Spelling Bee, an official preliminary round to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Nineteen students from third to eighth grade represented their individual schools as winners.

They competed for a spot in the top five which qualifies them for the regional competition in Fairmont. Winners from there will represent the state of West Virginia at the national competition in Washington, D.C.

Harrison County School District superintendent and cousin of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Mark Manchin, handed out awards to the 19 students who had to win their school bees to get here.

"They're not gonna be competing against other West Virginians. They're not gonna be competing at a national level," says Manchin.

"By the time they're going out into this world ready for a job, they're gonna have to be competing on a global stage, and they've got to have all the skills necessary to be successful. One of them, obviously, is to be able to spell, and spell correctly."

One contestant, Ashley McBrayer, a 6th grader from Bridgeport Middle School, says she appreciates what spelling bee's do for her.

"They get me out of my comfort zone. They help me in school, and get me to spell new words I've never heard before."

She can even spell the longest word in the English dictionary: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.