What’s the difference between a dugong and an agama?
At the 33rd Annual Loudoun Regional Spelling Bee it was 105 words and two hours and 44 minutes.
Dugong was the first word spelled by Wassim Bouhsane, a sixth-grader at Mercer Middle School. Agama was the final word spelled by Shiv Lamba, an eighth-grader at Loudoun Country Day School, to claim the title as the county’s best speller. In between those words, 74 spellers spent 14 rounds determining who would represent Loudoun County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 24-29 in Washington, D.C.
Seven spellers made it to the finalist round in Stone Bridge High School’s auditorium. They were:
- Rhea Vidyababu, a sixth-grader at Sterling Middle School
- Nicole Seman, an eighth-grader at Smart’s Mill Middle School
- Hriday Unadkat, a fifth-grader at Legacy Elementary
- Ayush Sood, a sixth-grader at Eagle Ridge Middle School
- Ashley Ganey, a fifth-grader at Cedar Lane Elementary
Lamba, Sood and Ganey were the three finalists with Sood placing second. Tension built – and the sound of fingers scribbling out possible spellings on the back of his number card became audible – as Lamba faced the daunting task of spelling two words consecutively after everyone else had been eliminated to claim the title.
And for those of you who have to know, a dugong is a medium-sized marine mammal related to the manatee. An agama is a small, long-tailed lizard.
Smart’s Mill Principal Will Waldman was the pronouncer for the spelling bee. Judges included Douglass School Assistant Principal Sherri Simmons; Harper Park Middle School Principal Beth Robinson and Arcola Elementary Principal Clark Bowers.
Leesburg Today was the spelling bee’s sponsor.