Henrico Schools’ spelling champ headed to national championship


Photo caption: Henrico Schools’ 2018 Divisionwide Spelling Bee runner-up Jackson Glagola claps for champion Joseph Chambers at the January contest. Chambers, a Quioccasin Middle School eighth-grader, also won the Richmond Times-Dispatch regional spelling crown and is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Henrico Schools’ spelling champ headed to national championship

Henrico, Va., May 25, 2018 – Spelling champion Joseph Chambers is headed to the big dance. The Quioccasin Middle School eighth-grader bested the champions of 56 other schools in January to become Henrico County’s winner. He then captured the Richmond Times-Dispatch regional spelling trophy in March, defeating school division champs from a large swath of Virginia stretching from the Northern Neck to Southside.

Monday, Chambers joins 515 other regional champions at the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington. The finals of the Scripps bee will be televised Thursday on ESPN2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on ESPN from 8:30-10:30 p.m.

“I’m amazed that I’ve gotten this far,” Chambers said. “I come from a pretty good spelling family, but none of us had ever won even the Henrico Schools spelling bee. To prepare, I’ve been studying a document that the nice people at Scripps sent me. It’s 100 pages, 600 words in all. It’s not particularly fun to study, but sometimes I’ll come across a word that I had no idea even existed, describing an idea that I never thought needed expressing. For instance, a ‘gazoz’ is a nonalcoholic carbonated drink. Who knew?

“It’s also a pretty hectic time of year. All of the end-of-year testing is going on … along with the last quizzes, tests and projects. I also have tennis team. Maybe I’ll have time to chill a bit after the bee, but not much yet.”

Earlier rounds of the national bee will be shown online at espn.com on Tuesday and Wednesday. Chambers’ first spelling round is expected to begin Tuesday at 4 p.m. EDT.

This is the fifth straight year that Henrico County Public Schools’ winner has also captured the regional crown. Four-time HCPS spelling champion Tejas Muthusamy won the Times-Dispatch bee from 2014-17.

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