John Legend was once a 10-year-old Springfield spelling bee champion. Here’s that story.


Editor’s Note: This story first published on June 21, 2017.


John Legend was a star even before he became a 10-time Grammy award singer and songwriter.   

Born John Stephens in 1978, Legend was homeschooled by his mother Phyllis with his siblings. In 1989, Legend went on to win the Springfield District Spelling Bee. 

Here is part of the news story from 1989: 

The suit and tie, the steady gaze, the crisp enunciation – John Stephens came the win the Springfield District Spelling Bee Thursday, and win he did. 

The only contestant who wore a suit and tie, John, 10, strode to the microphone, looked pronouncer Dwayne Frank in the eye and correctly spelled “prejudice” to take home the title of Springfield spelling champ. 

His mother uses curriculum from Springfield Christian Schools to teach John and his siblings, Ronald II, Vaughn, and Missy, in their Lexington Ave. home. 


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