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Winter weather worries force spelling bee postponement

The 70th annual Daily Progress Spelling Bee Regional Finals, scheduled to take place Saturday at Albemarle High School, are being postponed.

The decision was made late afternoon on Friday after the National Weather Service updated its winter weather advisory to include near blizzard-like conditions between the hours of 8 and 11 a.m. for the Charlottesville area. The event was slated to start at 9:30 a.m.

“We want students and their families to be safe when traveling to the spelling bee, and we expected that was not going to be the case. So postponing is the right decision,” Richard Alblas, spelling bee coordinator for The Daily Progress, said.

Students who were expected to take the stage come from public school districts across the region, as well as seven private schools in Charlottesville, Waynesboro and Staunton. A total of 16 students made it to the Regional Finals this year.

The winner, sponsored by The Daily Progress, will move on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is annually held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland. This year’s national finals will take place during the week of Memorial Day.

Last year was the first time since 1952 the Daily Progress Regional Spelling Bee Finals were canceled. That cancelation was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not a cancelation, merely a postponement,” Alblas said. “We will find a new date for the finals. I know how much our finalists look forward to this event, and we are committed to make sure they get the event they deserve.”


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