Fifth-grader wins Sussex County Regional Spelling Bee

GEORGETOWN, DE (Monday, March 18, 2024)  A 10-year-old Sussex County student is making the g-r-a-d-e when it comes to being the top speller among his peers.

Vihaan Jagadeesh took home the championship prize at the second annual Sussex County Regional Spelling Bee, held at Sussex Academy in Georgetown on Saturday, March 16, 2024. With a correct spelling of the word “marimba,” Vihaan won the 22-round competition that involved 20 spellers from 10 local schools. It took 13 rounds to whittle the field to two, but the competition went back and forth another nine rounds before Vihaan emerged the winner of the qualifier event.

Vihaan, a fifth-grader from Rehoboth Elementary, now advances to compete in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer near Washington, D.C. The semifinals begin May 28, with the finals set for May 30; the event will be televised on the ION television network.

David Skocik, a longtime public affairs professional who hosted and produced the Comcast Academic Challenge television game show that aired in the region for more than 20 years, served as pronouncer for the competition. Judges – tasked with tracking every word and verifying spelling accuracy – were Rachel Lynch, Sussex County Librarian, Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent, and WRDE-TV anchor Madeleine Overturf. Spellers studied a 4,000-word list provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Sussex County Libraries sponsored the event.

“This year we are pleased to host the only Scripps Regional Spelling Bee in the state, allowing a Delaware student the chance to participate in the National Spelling Bee this May,” Ms. Lynch said. “This is a great opportunity for students to showcase their skills, help encourage proficiency in literary skills, and engage in healthy competition.”

This year’s event was the second regional event hosted by Sussex County Libraries, and the only serving as a qualifier for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The competition encourages the exploration of words and lifelong curiosity, with a focus on helping students set goals and dedicate time to study and prepare. Participation in the bee program also provides an opportunity for students to gain experience in public speaking and poise under pressure.

To learn more about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, visit


Media Contact

Rachel Lynch, County Librarian
(302) 855-7890