Young students spelling their way to the First Coast Spelling Bee

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – All across the Jacksonville area, the best young spellers are preparing for the regional First Coast Spelling Bee after topping some pretty tough competition in their counties.

Cyanne Carey won the Baker County Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word "pronto." She was among 35 children competing at the start. It was Carey's third time in the county's spelling bee and her first time winning. 

Cassie Clay, an eighth-grader from Westwood Christian Academy, won the Suwannee County Spelling Bee when she correctly spelled the word "impregnable."

Nicholas Chowdhurry, an eighth-grader from Lake City Middle School, won the Columbia County Spelling Bee. The winning word was "geisha." It was his third time in the county's spelling bee, but his first time winning. Nicholas wants to be a doctor just like his father.

Erik Williams, a sixth-grader from St. Johns Country Day School, spelled the word "piazza" correctly to win the Clay County Spelling Bee. 

Ansley Cutshaw, an eighth-grader from Fernandina Beach Middle School, won the Nassau County Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word "cafeteria." Fun fact: Ansley is a triplet and beat out her two other sisters to get to the county finals.

After correctly spelling the word "didactic," 11-year-old Graham Glasheen from Hendricks Avenue Elementary School is moving on to represent Duval County in the regional spelling bee.

Francheska Melendez from Kimball Wiles Elementary spelled the word "Argentine" to take home the winning prize in the Alachua County Spelling Bee.

Manischa Wijayawardhana, a fifth-grader from Timberlin Creek Elementary, outwitted 35 other students in the St. Johns Spelling Bee, which lasted more than three hours.

Fifth-grader Brandon Plum won the Bradford County Spelling Bee spelling the word "gaiters." His father says Brandon has also overcome incredible challenges including autism and cystic fibrosis.

Armand Kuykendall, 10, won the Putnam County Spelling Bee with the word "apricot," overcoming amazing odds. He has autism and was abandoned and abused all before he was 3-years-old.

The next stop for these young winners is the 75th Annual First Coast Regional Spelling Bee. It happens Feb. 19 at Jacksonville University and will be broadcast live on Channel 4 and News4Jax.com.

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