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Clover Middle School's Peyton Goldenstein Qualifies for National Spelling Bee



With those seven letters, Clover Middle School eighth grader Peyton Goldenstein won the 2023 Carolina Panthers Regional Spelling Bee. It took her 20 rounds to claim the championship.


Peyton will now represent our region of South Carolina at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD, during the week of Memorial Day.


This was only the second time Peyton entered a spelling bee. The first time came back in third grade. To prepare, Peyton crammed for months, studying the 4,000-word list published by Scripps. She utilized the Word Club app to practice every night at dinner. She says that words of German origin can sometimes be the trickiest for her but that she is starting to learn the patterns of German words. She prepared mostly on her own but thanks Mr. Cargill for helping her the week before the district bee to ensure that she was ready for the competition. 


Peyton credits her principal, Calub Courtwright, with helping her be more confident. “He told me on March 1 to email him when I won first place,” she said. When she saw Courtwright on Friday before the bee, Peyton told him, “I’ll email you when I get first place.” 


Peyton calls herself a visual learner. She doesn’t write out the words on her hand as some spellers do. Instead, she says she imagines the letters in her head until they look right. Peyton is also an avid reader. “I love reading books, especially when they are fantasy books, because those pique my interest the best,” she said.


Peyton’s mom, Jeanette, called the whole experience at Bank of America Stadium “nerve wracking,” as she watched the number of spellers decrease and Peyton drew nearer to the championship. Jeanette texted family members about Peyton’s progress as she moved through the rounds.


“My family has been very supportive of me and encouraging of me going to the bee and helping me prepare for the bee,” Peyton said. Peyton celebrated her win with her family on Saturday night, enjoying a Shamrock Shake and Japanese food. “Crazy” and “surreal” are the adjectives she’s using to describe her experience so far.


Peyton has never visited the Washington, DC area where the championship will be held, but she will go there on a school field trip the week before the national spelling bee. She looks forward to seeing the historical monuments and experiencing nature. She also looks forward to meeting other spellers and forming relationships with them. 


All of the Clover School District wishes Peyton good luck as she represents us on the national stage. The Scripps National Spelling Bee will air on ION Television on June 1.