Ethan Smith, a seventh-grader from Dunlap Middle School in Peoria, Illinois, was crowned the winner after 11 rounds of competition in the Star Journal Regional Spelling Bee. He enjoyed an introductory taste of what spelling on TV is like since the local WEEK Channel 25 recorded the event. He correctly spelled "rheumatologist" for the win.
Will Robson, an eighth-grader at St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts, is carrying on the family tradition of spelling excellence. He won the 33rd Annual Daily Item Regional Spelling Bee just as his brother, Mitchell, did from 2014 to 2016. Will can use the experience he's gained watching the national finals when he gets his turn in the spotlight.
Photo credit: Spenser R. Hasak, The Daily Item
Christopher Serrao is heading to Washington, D.C., for the third time. The first time, he watched his sister compete. The second two he earned a spot in the national finals by winning the Discover Lehigh Valley Regional Spelling Bee in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The 11-year-old Readington Middle School student correctly spelled "kiddush" and "eland" to secure his second regional win.
Photo credit: Tim Wynkoop, Lehigh Valley Live
Evan Bishir, a fifth-grader at Park Elementary School in Fairmount, Indiana, is looking forward to his first visit to Washington, D.C. He is advancing to the national finals after a relatively short competition with 70 fellow students at the Indiana Wesleyan University Spelling Bee. His final two words were "poinsettia" and "charlatan."
Photo credit: Jeff Morehead, Chronicle Tribune
Koleton Briecke, an eighth-grader at Minisink Valley Middle School in Middletown, New York, gave his mom/coach a big hug after winning the Orange County regional spelling bee. His winning word was "reconcilable." Koleton said the secret to being a good speller is reading. His entire family plans to make the trip to the national finals.
Riya Joshi, a seventh-grader at Whitney Young Magnet High School's Academic Center, defended her title in the Chicago Public Schools Citywide Spelling Bee. All school bee winners in the area took an online assessment to determine the final 50 students who would participate in the onstage competition.
Photo credit: Chicago Public Schools
Sharanya Chatterjee, a sixth-grader from Hunter’s Creek Middle School in Orange County, Florida, was a first-timer at the Orlando Sentinel's 57th annual spelling bee. She clinched her victory by correctly spelling “Hanoverian.” She and her family moved to the United States from the United Kingdom three years ago. She is also quite the musician. She plays four instruments.
Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel
Torah Smith, a home-schooled student from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, stood at the microphone in disbelief when the pronouncer spoke her championship word. She didn't know it. She asked for all the clues and then correctly spelled "kiddush." She raised her arms in celebration as the crowd erupted in applause. She defended her regional title and will return to the national finals.
Photo credit: Sentinel & Enterprise
Allison Jones, a seventh-grader at Orleans Schools in Indiana, emerged from a field of 21 spellers to take championship honors at the Orange County Publishing Company's Great Spelling Bee. Her two final words were "newfangled" and "carnivore." An enthusiastic crowd cheered for the participants, recognizing the hard work that went into reaching this level.
Photo credit: Paoli News-Republican
The Kane County Spelling Bee came down to a battle between two fifth-graders. Pranav Kollu from Cambridge Lakes Charter School in Pingree Grove, Illinois, won the title and the trip to the national finals with "degage." Pranav said he paid particular attention to the word origins during his studies, and that knowledge helped him spell.