The public is invited to the Kresge Auditorium at Indiana University Kokomo Tuesday, March 21, as 22 elementary and middle school students compete at the North Central Indiana Regional Spelling Bee sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region and Indiana University Kokomo.

The contest will begin at 6:30 p.m. Winner of the regional competition will advance to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee set for May 28 to June 3, with on-stage rounds of the competition May 31 and June 1 before an international audience in the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.  

Josh Rockey, associate professor of communication at Ivy Tech, will serve as emcee and pronouncer. Judges include Kevin Bostic, president of Ivy Tech’s Lafayette Campus; Susan Sciame-Giesecke, chancellor of IU Kokomo; Tom McKaig, retired superintendent of Peru Community Schools and member of the Ivy Tech Kokomo Region Board of Trustees; and DeAndra Beard, founder of Beyond Borders Language Learning Center.

The winner of the regional bee will receive an expenses-paid trip to the nationals, along with The Samuel Louis Sugarman Award entitling the spelling to receive a 2017 United States Mint proof set and a $25 Amazon gift card.  The winner will also receive one-year subscriptions to Britannica Online Premium and to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online.  The second-place finisher will receive aMerriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition donated by Merriam-Webster and a $25 Amazon gift card.

Students qualified for the regional by winning their schools’ spelling bees. Participants are in grades 5 through 8 and come from schools in from Howard, Tipton, Miami, Cass, and Fulton counties. The competitors, their grade, and their schools include:

David Hoshaw, 8th, Acacia Academy, Kokomo

Bella Allee, 6th, Blair Pointe Upper Elementary, Peru

Madison Campbell, 6th, Caston Elementary, Fulton

Jasmine Johnson, 6th, Central Middle School, Kokomo

Kaiden Lucero, 6th, Columbia Middle School, Logansport

Betsy Rayl, 5th, Eastern Elementary, Greentown

Evan Mink, 8th, Eastern Junior-Senior High School, Greentown

A.J. Burkhalter, 6th, Howard Elementary, Kokomo

Abby Jordan, 5th, Maconaquah Elementary, Bunker Hill

Anastasia Spahr, 8th, Maconaquah Middle School, Bunker Hill

Lawrence Lewis, 7th, Maple Crest Middle School, Kokomo

Alayna Earle, 6th, North Miami Elementary, Denver

Caytlin Flood, 8th, North Miami Middle/High School, Denver

Kathryn Wong, 5th, Northwestern Elementary, Kokomo

Isabella Rogers, 8th, Northwestern Middle School, Kokomo

Rylee Bray, 8th, Peru Junior High School, Peru

Logan Colburn, 8th, Redeemer Lutheran School, Kokomo

Kenadi Waymire, 8th, Rochester Community Middle School, Rochester

Luke Mawbey, 6th, Sts. Joan of Arc & Patrick School, Kokomo

Krishi Patel, 5th, Taylor Elementary, Kokomo

Ashton Justice, 5th, Western Intermediate School, Russiaville

Dylan Collins, 7th, Western Middle School, Russiaville

Evan Mink, Anastasia Spahr, and Krishi Patel also participated in last year’s regional bee. Spahr was the 2014 champion and participated in the national bee.