Neha Gupte

Neha Gupte

Lincoln Middle School 6th-grader Neha Gupte has won the 2021 Alachua District Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the name of a legendary Scottish paradise that never changes—‘Brigadoon.’

“I didn’t know the story of Brigadoon, but I was able to sound it out,” said Gupte after the competition. “My mom also used that word during one of our practices, so I’d already heard it.”

Gupte was one of 28 fifth- through eighth-graders from public, charter, private and homeschool settings who competed Wednesday afternoon for the title of the district’s top speller. Because of COVID, the competition was held through Zoom with a very limited audience.

Four students made it to the seventh round of the competition, including Gupte, Metcalfe Elementary School 5th-grader Michael Cox, Oak View Middle School 8th-grader Charlotte Shea and Ft. Clarke Middle School 7th-grader Hannah Jones. Gupte correctly spelled her winning word in the eighth and final round.

With the district title under her belt, Gupte will now go on to represent Alachua County in Jacksonville for the First Coast Regional Spelling Bee, which is set for March 29.

“I feel really happy and excited that I’m going to be representing Lincoln and Alachua County at the next level,” Gupte said.

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