KOKOMO, Ind. – Twenty-three elementary and middle school students will compete March 21 at the North Central Indiana Regional Spelling Bee scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Kresge Auditorium on the campus of Indiana University Kokomo.

The winner of the regional competition will advance to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in the Washington, D.C., area, to compete with spellers from all 50 U.S. states and several other countries. Bee Week is 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.

Tim Sehr, Ivy Tech staff member and coordinator of the regional bee, said Ivy Tech has sponsored the regional spelling competition for four years and is happy to have Indiana University Kokomo as a co-sponsor this year.

“The North Central Indiana Regional Spelling Bee offers youngsters from Howard, Tipton, Miami, Pulaski, Cass, and Fultoncounties the opportunity to join in this national competition that’s been going on since 1925,” Sehr said. “The stated purpose of the national spelling bee – ‘to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives’ – is one that Ivy Tech and IU Kokomo are proud to support.”

Sehr said 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 a Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition donated by Merriam-Webster and a $25 Amazon gift card.

“Wherever they finish, all the participants benefit from their participation in the bee,” Sehr said. “This experience can build confidence and self-esteem. It offers an opportunity to develop their public-speaking skills and it encourages them in their educational endeavors.”

Students qualified for the regional by winning their schools’ spelling bees. Participating schools include:

Acacia Academy, Kokomo

Blair Pointe Upper Elementary School, Peru

Caston Elementary School, Fulton

Central Middle School, Kokomo

Columbia Middle School, Logansport

Eastern Elementary School, Greentown

Eastern Junior Senior High School, Greentown

Homeschool Helpers, Tipton

Howard Elementary School, Kokomo

Maconaquah Elementary School, Bunker Hill

Maconaquah Middle School, Bunker Hill

Maple Crest Middle School, Kokomo

North Miami Elementary School, Denver

North Miami Middle High School, Denver

Northwestern Elementary School, Kokomo

Northwestern Middle School, Kokomo

Peru Junior High School, Peru

Redeemer Lutheran School, Kokomo

Rochester Community Middle School, Rochester

Saints Joan of Arc & Patrick Elementary School, Kokomo

Taylor Primary School, Kokomo

Western Intermediate School, Russiaville

Western Middle School, Russiaville

Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Tipton and Wabash counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester.