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Kennedy Middle School Student Captures 2021 Aiken County Scripps Spelling Bee Title

AIKEN, S.C. – In his first trip to the Aiken County Scripps Spelling Bee Finals and his final year of eligibility, Kennedy Middle School eighth grader Liam King made it a night to remember.

Correctly spelling the words “kernel” and “frivolous” consecutively, Liam was crowned as the 2021 Aiken County Scripps Spelling Bee champion, earning him the right to participate in the regional spelling bee at the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in March. A win there would send Liam to the Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals later this year in National Harbor, Maryland.

As the spelling bee champion, Liam received an iPad, a $100 gift card to Books-A-Million, and a $100 Apple gift card from spelling bee sponsor Savannah River Remediation as well as a commemorative plaque from The Aiken Standard.

He expressed amazement at his accomplishment and gratitude to all those who had supported him and made the bee possible during a pandemic.

“I was just astonished that I had done it,” Liam stated. “I was honestly surprised. I’ve participated in spelling bees since the sixth grade, and I’ve never been past the school bee so being here is really surprising. I’m not really the best on stage. If you noticed, I was doing a lot of moving and that was really just helping me to calm down. I just want to thank the school district, my teachers, and my family for everything they’ve done to support me.”

Liam, who someday wants to pursue a career as a software engineer, says his favorite subject in school is anything related to technology.

“I’m excited about the next step,” he said of his upcoming trip to the regional finals.

Liam’s mother, Angela Hart, was thrilled with her son’s performance Monday on the Amentum Center for Performing Arts stage.

“He never ceases to amaze me,” Hart commented. “I’m just so proud of him.”

Kennedy Middle School Principal Dr. Ryan Ashley placed a congratulatory message on social media immediately after the bee.

“A huge congratulations to Kennedy Middle School student Liam King for winning the Scripps Spelling Bee tonight for Aiken County! Way to go!” Dr. Ashley posted on Twitter.

Finishing as the county spelling bee’s runner-up was Jackson STEM Magnet Middle School eighth grader Dorien Coleman. Dorien received a commemorative plaque from The Aiken Standard, a $100 Apple gift card, and a $100 Books-A-Million gift card from Savannah River Remediation.

“I feel like I did the best that I could,” Dorien stated. “I asked the caller everything I could to help me with the word. I still got second place and it feels great. It’s an amazing feeling to be on stage and spell and represent everyone at my school.”

A pair of Clearwater Elementary students, Serenity Butler and Sarah Cliett, finished in third- and fourth-place, respectively.

All twelve of the spelling bee’s participants received a $100 gift card to Books-A-Million from sponsor Savannah River Remediation.

The Aiken County Scripps Spelling Bee Finals was sponsored by Amentum, Savannah River Remediation, and The Aiken Standard. The event was livestreamed by The Aiken Standard and is available on the newspaper’s website and Facebook page.