The Buford City School District Spelling Bee was held on January 17, 2024, at the BHS Performing Arts Center. A total of 25 students from fourth through eighth grade participated in the event. Buford High School Assistant Principal Dr. Tim Harris was the caller for the event. The judges included Janet Graves, Jill Anderson, both retired Buford educators, and Courtney Bell, a 1997 Buford High School graduate.
Grady Lunday, an eighth-grader from Buford Middle School, won first place in the competition. Stephanie Ledford, the District Spelling Bee Coordinator, describes Grady as someone who has always been obsessed with numbers and letters. “By the time he was 18 months old, he had taught himself the alphabet, and before he turned three, he had already taught himself to read.” Grady spends his free time memorizing the periodic table, testing himself on countries and capitals, and studying his family tree, which he has personally traced back to the 12th century.
Grady is also an active member of the Buford Middle School music program. He plays the piano for the jazz band and percussion for the symphonic band, and his love of music drives him to participate in every opportunity he gets.

BMS Band Director Kathy Mason said Grady has quite the resume. “He is the top-ranked percussionist in the county and in the top four in the state,” said Mason. Grady has participated in several events, including Solo and Ensemble, LGPE, Midfest in Athens, GMEA, District Honor Band, and District Honor Jazz Band. He was also awarded the First Chair for percussion in the District during seventh and eighth grade and went on to perform with the All-State Band at UGA.
Not only is Grady musically talented, but he has also maintained an exemplary academic record, earning a spot on the honor roll throughout his school career.
Ethan Dinh, a sixth grader at BMS, was the runner-up in the competition. Ethan is a straight-A student who plays the trumpet in the advanced sixth-grade band class and is an active lacrosse team member. “He has received honor certificates every year, and his love for math is evident through his impressive grades,” said Ledford

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