Henrico champion heading to Scripps National Spelling Bee

Henrico champion heading to Scripps National Spelling Bee
Joseph Chambers competes in a spelling bee.

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico County Public Schools spelling champion Joseph Chambers is heading to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Chambers, a Quioccasin Middle School eighth-grader, beat champions from 56 other schools to become Henrico's winner. He then won the Richmond Times-Dispatch regional spelling bee in March, beating other school division champions from other parts of Virginia.

"I'm amazed that I've gotten this far," Chambers said. "I come from a pretty good spelling family, but none of us had ever won even the Henrico Schools spelling bee. To prepare, I've been studying a document that the nice people at Scripps sent me. It's 100 pages, 600 words in all. It's not particularly fun to study, but sometimes I'll come across a word that I had no idea even existed, describing an idea that I never thought needed expressing. For instance, a 'gazoz' is a non-alcoholic carbonated drink. Who knew?

"It's also a pretty hectic time of year. All of the end-of-year testing is going on … along with the last quizzes, tests and projects. I also have tennis team. Maybe I'll have time to chill a bit after the bee, but not much yet."

Chambers will compete in the first round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tuesday, which can be seen on espn.com. The final will air on Thursday on ESPN2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on ESPN from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

This is the fifth straight year that a champion from Henrico also won the Richmond Times-Dispatch regional spelling bee. Tejas Muthusamy won from 2014 to 2017.

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