Countdown To The 2014 Regional Spelling Bee

Posted: February 24, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the 11th and 12th of 20 profiles of the contestants in the 2014 Regional Spelling Bee sponsored by the Rockingham District Ruritans and co-sponsored by the Daily News-Record and public television station WVPT. The bee will be held at the WVPT studios in Harrisonburg on March 1. Each day, we will introduce two of the spellers competing for a spot in this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.


Declan Leach

School: Redeemer Classical

Grade: Sixth

Age: 12

Lives in: Harrisonburg

Parents: Bill and Annie Leach

Winning word, or misspelled word if runner-up, in divisional bee: ventriloquy (winning word)

Favorite subject: History and literature. “Because I like learning about famous wars and people in history, and writing and reading in literature.”

Career goals: English professor, lawyer, author, artist. “I would want to be an English professor because I like writing and reading; a lawyer because I like people and languages and debate; an author because I like writing; and an artist because I love to draw.”

Hobbies: Reading, writing, piano and choir.

Favorite author, book or series: “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien; “The Hobbit” by Tolkien; the Bartimeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud; the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Spelling secrets: “I see the word in my head and sound out the syllables.”

Interesting facts: “I am writing a book, I am often the class clown, and I plan to learn many languages such as French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, German, etc.”

Anything else DN-R readers should know about you or anything you would like to say to them: “My sister was in the regional spelling bee twice and she helps me.”


Michael Lotts

School: Highland High

Grade: Eighth

Age: 13

Lives in: Monterey

Where else have you lived: Criders

Parents: Amanda Lotts

Winning word, or misspelled word if runner-up, in divisional bee: vouch (winning word)

Favorite subject: Band. “I really like music.”

Career goals: “I’m not sure.”

Hobbies: Playing music, hunting and fishing.

Favorite book, series or author: Cassandra Clare, the pen name of Judith Rumelt, best known as the author of the The Mortal Instruments series.

Spelling secrets: “I spell the word slowly.”

Interesting facts: “I’ve never been out of the United States.”

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