Elberta Elementary student buzzes to second county spelling bee win


LOXLEY, Alabama — Elberta Elementary sixth grader Jessi Dade successfully defended her 2019 Baldwin County Spelling Bee crown, winning the 2020 Baldwin County Spelling Bee Championship held Tuesday evening, Feb. 4 at the Loxley Civic Center.

Dade survived 16 rounds of competition, including six rounds of head-to-head spelling with runner-up Jeffrey Johnson of Bayshore Christian Academy. Dade successfully spelled “pilgrimages” and “macaroon” after Johnson missed on the word “medieval” to claim the crown.

A total of 33 competitors from Baldwin County’s elementary, intermediate and middle public schools, along with Bayshore, Bayside Academy and Central Christian private schools participated in the competition.

Dade will advance to the state level in Birmingham on March 21, sponsored by the Alabama Kiwanis Foundation.

Dade became the second student in the last four years to represent Elberta schools as a repeat champion. Elberta Middle School student Fletcher Ard successfully defended his 2016 title in 2017. Before that, Bay Minette’s Isabella Eleongo won the crown in 2013 and 2014.

If she continues her success, Dade also has a chance to equal the fete of four-time champion Andrew Williams, who won the crown as a fourth grader in 2008, then won three in a row from 2010-2012.

Baldwin County’s Catholic Schools compete with Mobile County schools in district competition to qualify for the state bee and are not included with the other schools.

Winners from state competition advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee which will be held during Bee Week beginning Memorial Day, May 24 and continuing through May 29 Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. The exact date of the Spelling Bee will be posted at spellingbee.com after May 1.

The nationally televised event is sponsored by the G.W. Scripps Company, based in Cincinnati. Its website lists winners dating back to 1925.