Elementary and middle school students from six counties will compete on Thursday for the regional title in this year's Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
The competition, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at Robert C. Byrd High School.
"There are so many chances for athletes to compete, but this is a chance for students to compete academically," said Vicki Huffman, language arts coordinator for Harrison County schools.
Fourth- through eighth-grade students who won competitions at their home schools or in their home counties will take part in the spelling bee. Bradly McDougal, an eighth-grader from Lumberport Middle School, said he was surprised to make it to the regional level.
"I think the hardest thing will be having to stand up in front of all those people. That has me a little nervous," McDougal said.
The regional bee is sponsored again this year by the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram and will be hosted by RESA VII (Regional Education Service Agency).
"We strive to be a driving force behind literacy in the area. This is one more way to encourage children to improve their vocabularies," said Leslie Moore, Newspapers in Education coordinator for the Clarksburg newspapers.
The winner of the bee will win the chance to compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling to be held May 31 and June 1 in Washington, D.C. All other competitors will receive $20 James and Law gift certificates, Moore said.
Students competing in the spelling bee, their grade levels and their counties:
Harrison County -- Matthew Madurski, 5th grade; Bradly McDougal, 8th grade; Kayla Medina, 5th grade; Rachel Romesburg, 8th grade; and Timothy Wilson, 8th grade.
Marion County -- Christopher Carpenter, 6th grade; Michael Deasy, 7th grade; Anu Devabhaktuni, 8th grade; Keith Earl, 6th grade; Latisha Kriston, 5th grade; Whittney Romano, 7th grade; Amanda Thompson, 8th grade; and Kristin Wilson, 5th grade.
Tucker County -- Kimberly Clevenger, 5th grade; Jerica Dumire, 6th grade; Jeremy Maxwell, 7th grade; and Prentice Small, 8th grade.
Gilmer County -- Jesse Darby, 6th grade; Bryan Darby, 7th grade; Aaron Latos, 5th grade; and Chris Weaver, 7th grade.
Doddridge County -- Shayna Follett, 6th grade; Riki Griffin, 5th grade; Sarah Messenger, 4th grade; Andraea Powell, 8th grade; and Valerie Hyole, 7th grade.
Upshur County -- Brett Harman, 5th grade; Jared Kirchberg, 4th grade; Amanda Peck, 6th grade; John Ward III, 4th grade; and Sky Warren, 5th grade.