In 1925, nine newspapers joined forces to host a spelling bee which would grow into something so monumental that it would end up impacting more than 11 million school-aged students each and every year.

Each year, spelling bees are hosted on the local, state, and regional levels, with the best of the best spellers competing against each other on the national level at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. 

This year, seven students from Central New York have found themselves at the nation's most iconic spelling competition. Those students are 14-year-old Melodie Loya of Bainbridge,13-year-old Anh Thu Tran of Horseheads, 10-year-old Emma Sroka of Auburn, 13-year-old Sehej Bajwa of Jamesville, 13-year-old Anna Cloonan of Oswego, 10-year-old Hudson Brenner of Manlius, and 13-year-old Thomas Hamrick of Ithaca.

This is Melodie's third time competing at the National Spelling Bee. Home-schooled through the Sidney LEAH program, Melodie (speller no. 274) tied for 18th place in 2017 and tied for 25th place in 2018. Also competing again is Anh Thu, a student at the Chemung Valley Montessori School. Anh Thu (speller no. 328), tied for 42nd place in 2018.

This is the first year attending the National Spelling Bee for Thomas (speller no. 329) who is with the Lambert Hamrick Homeschool, Emma (speller no. 338), a student at William H. Seward Elementary School, Anna (speller no. 263), who attends Oswego Middle School, Hunter (speller no. 235), a student at Eagle Hill Middle School,  and Sehej (speller no. 309), who attends Jamesville DeWitt Middle School.

Each of these kids is competing for the title, the trophy, and a cash prize of more than $50,000.

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