Spelling champ’s former principal says she’s so much more than a great speller

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- To her teachers, classmates, and friends, 14-year-old Erin Howard is a humble student and kind friend. Oh, but yes, she also was one of eight champions in the Scripp's National Spelling Bee.

It was in the halls of Mountain Gap P-8 school that Erin built the foundation that would send her to the National Spelling Bee not once, but four times.

"Erin has been at this for a long time," said Mountain Gap principal Heather Bardwell.

Erin will be a 9th grader at Grissom High School this fall.

For other students watching Erin as a fellow classmate, Bardwell hopes Erin's success shows that you can do anything no matter where you're from.

"She really took every spare moment that she could to prepare herself," Bardwell said. "So I hope it shows our students that with hard work and dedication and time commitment, you really can do anything."

And of course, as she moves on to start her high school career, Erin will be remembered by her Mountain Gap teachers as much more than a spelling champion.

"She's not only a great speller, she's on our cybersecurity team," Bardwell said. "She's really well rounded, she's in the band, and does a phenomenal job. She has lots of commitments."

Erin will be traveling around the country with her family and the other co-champions for the next few days and will return to Huntsville early next week.

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