Nearly 80 elementary and middle school students from across Fresno County will test their spelling skills next week at Fresno State.
The Bee is co-sponsoring the 22nd annual Fresno County Spell-Off on Tuesday, where the top winner will advance to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Maryland in May.
This is the first time the county Spell-Off competition is part of the national Spelling Bee. The Bee in the past had sponsored the county Spelling Bee, sending winners to the National Spelling Bee, but stopped in the 1990s.
Forty-four students in grades 4-6 and 35 students in grades 7-8 will compete, with the top two winners from each grade competing to determine the overall winner. Participants are finalists from districtwide spelling competitions.
The top two winners from the elementary and middle school divisions will represent the county in a statewide competition. The State Elementary Spelling Championship will be held April 23 in Stockton, and the Junior High State Spelling Bee Championship will be held May 14 in San Rafael. The state and national competitions are not connected.
On Tuesday, elementary students will participate in an oral competition, and middle school students will participate in a written competition.
Other Fresno County Spell-Off sponsors include the Fresno County Office of Education, Foundation at FCOE, Fresno State, Chevron, Educational Employees Credit Union, Educational Resource Consultants and the River Park Shopping Center.
The elementary competition starts at 9 a.m at the Fresno State Satellite Student Union. The middle school competition starts at 1 p.m. at the same place.
The national competition is May 22-28. The travel for the winning student and one parent or chaperone will be underwritten in full by sponsors.
For more information, visit www.spellingbee.com or contact the Fresno County Office of Education at 559-265-3060.