FISHERSVILLE — Wilson Middle School student Cassidy Plautz won Augusta County’s 2020 Spelling Bee on Thursday night after correctly spelling the word “realization.”
Her younger brother, Logan Plautz, a seventh-grader at Wilson Middle, became runner-up after misspelling the word “rebuked.”
Anna Callo, a seventh-grader at Stuarts Draft Middle School, took the third-place spot after she incorrectly spelled “temporary.”
Before the competition began at Wilson Middle, Augusta County Director of Instruction for Secondary Education Forrest Burgdorf welcomed participants and family members.
She said before Thursday evening’s bee, she told the 17 participants “what a huge honor it is to even make it this far.”
“There were hundreds of students in the individual schools who were participating in this, and just to even make it up on this stage in a county the size of ours is just a huge honor and that they should all be so proud,” Burgdorf said.
Burgdorf thanked county teachers, administrators, family members and friends who were in the audience.
“I think your support means a lot to them, and I appreciate your taking the time to come this evening,” Burgdorf said.
The pronouncer was Dr. Sarah Melton, an Augusta County instructional supervisor. Judges were Augusta County Instructional Supervisors Wendy Chandler and Angie Dietz, and retired teacher Diana Beam.
Spelling bee participants included one student from each of the county’s nine elementary schools and two from the county’s middle schools.
Burgdorf explained the competition’s rules. Words were chosen from the Scripps National Spelling Bee list.
“And how exciting is it that somebody on our stage right here is going to be our [county-wide] champion?” Burgdorf said.
After a practice round, competition began with the words “fend,” “squishy,” and “dense.”
In the first round, North River Elementary School fifth-grader Emily Aquirre-Jimenez was the first participant out when she misspelled “cues.”
Then Joseph Tetto, a seventh-grader at Stuarts Draft Middle, incorrectly spelled “briefing” and Sean Hines, a fifth grader at Wilson Elementary, misspelled “prayer.”
Other words that tripped up participants included “obtain,” “rumbling,” “radish,” “poured” and “mulch.”
Participants were successful with “gangplank,” “blathering,” “shrewd” and “discomfort.”
In round 5, four participants were left.
Starting with round 6, Cassidy, Logan and Anna battled it out for five rounds before Anna was eliminated.
Competition between Cassidy and Logan lasted for two rounds.
“It feels pretty good,” said Cassidy, an eighth-grader, about winning. “It’s nice that it went so fast.”
Cassidy said she competed in last year’s county-wide spelling bee when competition went for a longer time. She came in third place last year, and tied for second place at the regional bee in Charlottesville last year.
“It was kind of weird,” Cassidy said of competing against her brother in this year’s spelling bee. She added that he still has next year to compete again.
Cassidy, Logan and Anna will represent Augusta County at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville on March 7 in the regional spelling bee.