The Park Record | Scripps National Spelling Bee

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: Jake Shane/The Park Record

Local Spelling Bee Coverage

Jaskarn Singh Turns Fun Into Victory in Visalia, CA

It was more than six hours of spelling drama before Jaskarn Singh, an eighth-grader at Alpine Vista School in Visalia, California, got his championship word - a word he knew - "vamplate." He decided to give spelling a try because he thought it would be fun. After many late nights of studying, he told the Visalia Times-Delta, "I feel like I’ve done something that not a lot of people have done.” 

Photo credit: Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta

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Priceless Reaction as Daniel Healy Wins in Illinois

Daniel Healy put his hands to his face in amazement after winning the 38th Annual Dispatch-Argus Regional Spelling Bee in Rock Island, Illinois. The 12-year-old had to out-spell 54 other competitors to earn a return trip to the national finals. 

Photo credit: Meg McLaughlin, The Dispatch-Argus

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Sophia Grierson Wins in Ludington, MI

Sophia Grierson wore the medal around her neck proudly after winning the Ludington Daily News Community Spelling Bee in Ludington, Michigan. She is a student at Ludington Area Catholic School. She won in the 10th round by correctly spelling, "sukiyaki." She was on stage with 53 other top spellers, including her younger sister.

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Ainsley Boucher Wins Again in Minnesota

Ainsley Boucher of Crookston, Minnesota, has earned a return trip to the national finals after winning the Minnesota spelling bee. The eighth-grader from Crookston High School spelled “irides” correctly to earn the title and another trip to the nation's capital. In addition to her spelling talents, she plays the violin and alto saxophone.

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Caroline Otto Thanks Parents for Support

Caroline Otto, 13, of Baileyville, Illinois, credited the help of her parents to prepare for the 36th annual regional bee at Pearl City Schools. She is homeschooled by her mom and her dad helped quiz her every night on her spelling. She won in the 19th round with "dyslexia." 

Photo credit: Jane Lethlean/The Journal-Standard

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Dream Comes True for Pragya Choudhary in Detroit

Pragya Choudhary says she's been dreaming of this winning moment for several years. The eighth-grader from Canton Charter Academy in Detroit was thrilled when she spelled "portcullis" correctly. The competition was live-streamed by sponsor, WXYZ-TV Channel 7, a Scripps station.

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Reading is the Key for Eva Vega Win

Eva Vega, an eighth-grader at Marvin Ridge Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina, credits her reading for helping her to be a great speller. After a one-year hiatus, she is returning to the national finals with her winning word - “stramineous.” She tracks the Bee's "word of the week" on Instagram to help with preparation too.

Photo credit: John D. Simmons, The Charlotte Observer

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Caleb Xiao Celebrates Winning Moment in Spartanburg, SC

Caleb Xiao raisesd his arms in triumph after spelling "Alhambra" to win the 14th annual USC Upstate Regional Spelling Bee in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Spartanburg Day School seventh-grader was one of 18 students who competed for three hours to determine a winner.

Photo credit: Tim Kimzey, Spartanburg Herald-Journal 

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Michael Volkov Capitalizes on Second Chance

Michael Volkov was eliminated from the Virginian-Pilot until another speller's misspelling gave him a second chance. He didn't waste it. He correctly spelled "loculus" to win the Virginia Beach area bee. The 12-year-old from Princess Anne Middle School competed against 58 others in the bee live-streamed by local TV station, WHRO.

Photo credit: Steve Early, Virginian-Pilot

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Patrick McCarthy Prepared to Win in Hagerstown, MD

Patrick McCarthy dedicated himself to studying in the past year after finishing third last year in the Washington County bee in Hagerstown, Maryland. The Western Heights Middle School eighth-grader was thrilled when he heard the familiar "vamplate" as his champion word. This was the 39th year for the competition sponsored by Herald-Mail Media. 

Photo credit: Joe Crocetta, Herald-Mail Media

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Christopher Hays Wins in Tallahassee, FL

In quick fashion Trinity Catholic School eighth-grader Christopher Hays won the Tallahassee Democrat Big Bend regional spelling bee in just seven rounds against other students from the area. His championship word was "huckster," He will be busy this spring as he prepares for the national finals along with his work for the school musical, Latin club and Brain Bowl. 

Photo credit: Ashley White, Tallahassee Democrat

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Harini Logan Wins in San Antonio, TX

Preparation paid off for Harini Logan, a fourth grader at the Montessori School of San Antonio, Texas, when she spelled "vicontiel" and "potto" to win the 65th edition of the Express-News Spelling Bee. She had previously studied both words, but was still a bit shocked when she realized she was advancing to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

Photo credit: Tom Reel, San Antonio Express-News

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Kendal Win Goes 53 Rounds for Victory

Kendal Win, an eighth-grader at Pine Forest Middle School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, endured a marathon battle of 53 rounds to earn a repeat trip to the national finals. Kendal, for whom English is a second language, won with "scherzo." The Fayetteville Observer and the Cumberland County Public Library sponsored the event.

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Persistance Pays Off for Emily Winkler in Maryland

After placing second in last year's Bee, eighth grader Emily Winkler, from Milton M. Somers Middle School in La Plata, Maryland, was determined to try again. Her persistence paid off as she won by spelling "Rembrandt." Winkler is one of many who likes to spell out the word on her hand before speaking into the microphone. 

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Nathan Barnes Wins Again in Wilson, NC

Nathan Barnes was as cool as his Pink Floyd t-shirt during the Wilson Times spelling bee in Wilson, North Carolina. The 14-year-old, who is homeschooled, will make a return trip to D.C. after winning with "efficacy." He said he plans to study up on prefixes and suffixes in preparation for the national finals.

Photo credit: Drew C. Wilson | The Wilson Times

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Paarth Tara Gets Second Chance With Bee Win

Paarth Tara plans to enjoy his second and last chance at the national finals. The eighth grader from Woodlawn Middle School won with “protuberance.” This was the 25th Times-News Spelling Bee in Burlington, North Carolina. Tara says he plans to fit a little more fun into this year's trip to Washington, D.C. 

Photo credit: Steven Mantilla/Times-News

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Ryana Sarcar Wins 36th Albany, NY Bee

It was a full day of spelling for Ryana Sarcar, an eighth grader from Niskayuna school district in Schenectady, New York. After advancing through the written test, she spelled into the evening along with more than 100 other regional finalists. She finally won with "plenary." 

Photo credit: Lori Van Buren, Albany Times Union

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Daniel Larsen Repeats as IU Bee Winner

Daniel Larsen enjoyed last year's National Finals so much, he was motivated to repeat as champion of the Indiana University Bee in Bloomington, Indiana. He wore his favorite lucky shirt as he correctly spelled "peccadillo" and "recidivist" to win the regional event and advance to D.C. The regional sponsor is IU's Media School and School of Education. 

Photo credit: Jonathan Streetman, The Herald Times

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Brian Kenny Wins Syracuse, NY Bee

Brian Kenny, an Onondaga Hill Middle School eighth grader is following in his sister's footsteps after he won the the 2018 Post-Standard | WCNY | Spelling Bee. It was a marathon battle lasting more than 30 rounds before he correctly spelled "prosciutto" to win. 

Photo credit: | The Post-Standard – Mike Greenlar 

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Ryan Himmelsbach Earns Return Trip to D.C.

Ryan Himmelsbach, a 13-year-old from Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in the Three Village school district in East Setauket, New York, is returning to the National Finals after winning the Hofstra University regional bee. He was thrilled to not hear the ring of the bell when he correctly spelled “teleost.”

Photo credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz, Newsday

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Bao Pham Wins Boulder, CO Bee

Fifth-grader Bao Pham from Birch Elementary School in Broomfield, Colorado, won the Barnes & Noble Spelling Bee by correctly spelling "pyroclastic." Editorial note - he and his fellow spellers get an additional round of applause from us for their fantastic Bee competition t-shirts.

Photo credit: Cliff Grassmick, Daily Camera

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Jordi De Jong Wins Chester County Bee in PA

Jordi De Jong, a student at Villa Maria Academy, did not waste her second chance opportunity to win the Chester County Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Chester County Intermediate Unit. She correctly spelled preposterous and vamplate to win the title. 

Photo credit: Chester County Intermediate Unit

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Nicole Patrao Wins Olathe, KS Bee

Nicole Patrao is the winner of the 2018 Olathe Spelling Bee. She is an eighth-grade student at Chisholm Trail Middle School! The Kansas City Star is the sponsor for that region.

Photo credit: Olathe Public Schools

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Nathaniel Stone Wins Jamaica Bee

The third time was the charm for Nathaniel Stone to win the Gleaner's Children's Own Spelling Bee in Jamaica. The 11-year-old from Glenmuir High School correctly spelled orotund to take the title. He credits his mother for inspiring him to continue spelling and to achieve. 

Photo credit: Ian Allen, The Gleaner

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Abby Zheng Wins in South Carolina

Eighth-grader Abby Zheng of Johnsonville Middle School had the sweetest reaction to winning her regional bee in Florence, South Carolina. She won with her correct spelling of “sukiyaki.” The Pee Dee Education Center was the title host and had added support from the Florence County Bar Association and Francis Marion University.

Photo credit: Harrison Smith, Morning News

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Lannien Dunn Powers Through Utah Bee

After 21 rounds, Lannien Dunn, a fifth-grade student from Bear River Charter School, was crowned champion after properly spelling “turbines.” This was the first unified regional bee for several charter schools in northern Utah. 

Photo credit: Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal

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First Timer Wins Ghana Spelling Bee

A 12-year-old first-time contestant rose above 196 others to emerge as the winner of the 2018 National Spelling Bee held in Ghana, one of six other countries represented in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Shifa Amankwah-Gabbey from Nagie’s Angels Educational Centre burst into tears upon the realization she correctly spelled the championship word, "wamara." The Young Educators Foundation organizes the local event with the support of several sponsors. 

Photo credit:

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Sania Naik Wins NJ's Hudson County Bee

Sania Naik, an eighth-grader at Academy I Middle School in Jersey City, New Jersey, won the 59th annual Jersey Journal-Hudson County Spelling Bee, presented by AAA, by correctly spelling "vamplate." It's a skill that runs in the family, Sania's sister, Nisha, participated in the National Finals in 2006.  

Photo credit: Nicholas Zeitlinger, The Jersey Journal 

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Linh Le First to Advance to D.C.

The first regional bee for 2018 was in Belmont County, Ohio. Linh Le, an eighth grader from St. Clairsville Middle School, correctly spelled sinister and lenient to win the trophy and prizes including a trip to the National Finals in the Washington D.C. area. Thanks to all the local sponsors - The Times Leader, Belmont Savings Bank, Goldberg, Persky & White, East Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Airport Limousine Service and AAA Auto Club.

Photo credit: Shelley Hanson/The Times Leader

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