Thirty-four sixth- to eighth-grade spellers will vie for the La Salle, Marshall and Putnam Regional Spelling Bee title Saturday.
The 58th annual bee is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Ottawa High School School Auditorium, 211 E. Main St. The event is free and open to the public.
The winner of the regional bee will then compete Friday, March 23, in the Grand Finals at WEEK TV Studios in East Peoria.
The Stretch Miller Memorial Spelling Bee traveling plaque will be presented to the first-place winner's school for one year. The plaque has a space for engraving the year, name and school of each annual winner.
Milton Pope School possessed the plaque in 2017, after Levi Maierhofer spelled "benzene" to clinch the win. Grand Ridge School had the plaque in 2016, following Shelby Dovin's win on the word "ravioli."
Additionally, the first-place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to The Prairie Fox Books in Ottawa, a $200 cash prize provided by the William Ieuter Trust and a first-place plaque.
Second prize will be a $50 gift certificate to The Prairie Fox Books, a $100 cash prize provided by the William Ieuter Trust and a second place plaque.
Each participant will receive a trophy as winner of their school’s spelling bee.
“The spelling bee continues to be a high priority for students, teachers and administrators in our region," said Christopher Dvorak, La Salle, Marshall and Putnam counties regional superintendent of schools. "We look forward to a great academic competition."
The event is sponsored by the Peoria Journal Star, the Ottawa Kiwanis Club and the regional superintendent's office.
Contestants are advised to arrive no later than 8:30 a.m. for instructions and seating assignments.
Last 5 winners and the words they spelled:
2017: Levi Maierhofer, Milton Pope, benzene
2016: Shelby Dovin, Grand Ridge, ravioli
2015: Mary Kate Jagiella, Peru Catholic, hacienda
2014: Drew Klatt, Wallace, babushka
2013: Ram Koganti, Wallace, sturgeon
2018 District Winners:
(Ransom) Allen-Otter Creek: Cade Stevens (Emma Berg)
(Ottawa) Central: Nick Cox (Peyton Bryson)
Deer Park: Caitlin Evans (Max Koziel)
Dimmick: Katelyn Pullam (John Brady)
Earlville: Darlene Sparks (Anthony Towne)
Grand Ridge: Franchesca Rodriguez (Ben Domoleczny)
Henry-Senachwine: Mason Johnson (Abigail Miller)
(Oglesby) Holy Family: Luke Buck (Brendan Boudreau)
Leland: Porter Thrall (Lillian Brockman)
(La Salle) Lincoln: Carter Walters (Anthony Taylor)
(La Salle) Lincoln: Jaxon Schneider
Lostant: Mckinzie Archer (Madeline Missel)
Marseilles: Jamier Spriggs (Raistlin Wolf)
(Ottawa) Marquette: Collin Leonard (Natalie Dyche)
(Varna) Midland: Tiffnei Oser (Madison Colby)
(Miller Twp.) Milton Pope: Carter Snook (Michaela Harlan)
(Mendota) Northbrook: Emma Elston (Jenah Sims)
(Streator) Northlawn: Brenden Bradley
(Streator) Northlawn: Connor Akin
(Peru) Parkside: Creed McCormick (Petranella Mitchell)
(Peru) Parkside: Shea Rathbun
Peru Catholic: Aleanna Mendoza (Maggie Kishler)
Putnam County: Mayra Macias (Molly Roach)
Rutland: Brooklyn Hughes (Carter Beal)
(Streator) St. Michael: Jerzie Salisbury (Cian Reed)
Serena: Trevor Thanepohn (Kaelynn Kitzman)
Seneca: Kendall Robertson (Laura Yegge)
(Ottawa) Shepherd: Corinne Francis (Audrey West)
(Ottawa) Shepherd: Leo Volker (Blake Irvin)
Tonica: Erin Gray (Connor Fundell)
(La Salle) Trinity Catholic: Landon Jackson (Giovanni Garcia)
Wallace: Layne Krug (Taegeon Eom)
Waltham: Riker Fesperman (Jack Wallace)
(Oglesby) Washington: Lea Asani (Alexis Robbins)