Photo courtesy of University of Maryland Eastern Shore

A Speller's Journey to Washington, D.C.

The spelling bee journey takes students from the classroom all the way to final regional bees. From small towns to big cities to other countries, we are following the local spelling bee experience. Here is a sampling of local coverage to celebrate spellers' unique paths to our national stage.

Photo: Texas Christian University

Local Spelling Bee Coverage

Houston Sends Top Two Winners to DC

In the final regional spelling bee of 2018, Houston is sending its top two spellers from the competition. This year, Pranav Chemudupaty, from Alvin Independent School District, was the champion, and Benjamin Chen, a student at Beaumont Independent School District, was runner-up. Houston is the largest regional competition, with 1,060 enrolled schools. 

Photo credit: Houston Public Media

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Garrett Bryner Wins Return Trip to DC

Garrett Bryner, an eighth-grader at Mont Harmon Middle School in Price, Utah, is returning for the second time to the national finals. He correctly spelled “Danube” to win the regional spelling bee sponsored by the Southeast Educational Service Center. Thanks to RSVBee, Garrett's brother, Pierce, also will compete, making them the first-ever set of twins to participate at the same time.

Photo credit: ETV 10News

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Dina Miranda Wins Marathon Event in CA

Dina Miranda, a seventh-grader at Stanford Middle School in Long Beach, California, has earned a trip to the national finals after winning the Los Angeles County Regional Spelling Bee. It was a marathon event that lasted 10 hours with more than 500 words. The championship word for Dina was "grivoiserie."

Photo credit: South Bay Community News
 

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Nilla Rajan Gains Focus for Return Trip to DC

Nilla Rajan, a seventh-grader at Bishop Flaget School in Chillicothe, Ohio, is returning to the national finals for a second time. She previously competed in 2016, and now she is back with experience, preparation and a new focus. She won the regional spelling bee sponsored by Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication with the word "Mozambique."

Photo credit: Chillicothe Gazette

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Almudena Soler Follows Brother's Winning Ways

Despite the lingering impact of Hurricane Maria, many children in Puerto Rico remained dedicated spellers. Nearly 30 students qualified for the Eureka Enrichment and Learning Center national spelling bee. Almudena Soler, a fifth-grader, was crowned the champion. Her brother was the Puerto Rico champion in 2013, but Almudena was too little for the trip. Now she has her own opportunity.

Photo credit: Spelling Bee Puerto Rico

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Jah'Quane Graham Dances to VI Victory

Jah'Quane Graham, a sixth-grader from Juanita Gardine Elementary School in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, said if he won the 2018 Territorial Intermediate Spelling Bee, he would dance to celebrate. After correctly spelling "exceedingly," he danced on stage for all to enjoy. The Virgin Islands Daily News is the longtime sponsor of the competition. 

Photo credit: St. John Source
 

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Joshua Saylor Repeats as AK Winner

Joshua Saylor, a seventh-grade student at Mirror Lake Middle School in Chugiak, Alaska, raised his arms in triumph after winning the Alaska State Spelling Bee for the second year in a row. He defended his title as champion by correctly spelling "pompier" in the ninth round.

Photo credit: Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News

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Rahul Naveen Plans for Long Trip to DC

Rahul Naveen, an eighth-grader at Medea Creek Middle School in Oak Park, California, is the champion of the SAGE Ventura County Spelling Bee and will represent Ventura County and SAGE Publishing at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington. Rahul outlasted 130 competitors and spelled through 29 rounds before winning by correctly spelling "effervescence."

Photo credit: Ventura County Star

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Prisha Patel Continues Family Tradition in NC

Prisha Patel, a sixth-grader at Rocky Mount Academy in North Carolina, continued the family legacy by winning the Advancement Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Delta Center for Life Development. Prisha took the top prize with the word “terrapin.” Her brother won the competition last year. She thanked her parents for helping her prepare. 

Photo credit: Rocky Mount Telegram

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Anika Gundlapalli Works Hard for Return to DC

Anika Gundlapalli, a sixth-grader at Nimitz Middle School in Odessa, Texas, was determined to return for a second opportunity at the national finals. In the 35th round, she knew "valves" and spelled it correctly to earn that repeat trip. Anika attributed her win to preparation and study, and said it was cool to see that work pay off.

Photo credit: Justin Lee, Odessa American

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