On Saturday, March 11, at 8:30 a.m., 37 elementary and middle school students from around the region will come together at Mid-Continent Public Library’s Midwest Genealogy Center (3440 S. Lee’s Summit Road, Independence, Mo.) to compete in the annual Mid-Continent Public Library Spelling Bee (formerly the Jackson-Clay County Spelling Bee). Spellers will face off against one another for the title of regional spelling bee champion as well as the chance to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland, May 28–June 2.

“The MCPL Spelling Bee is a competition, but it’s also a celebration of literacy and the hard work these students have put in to expand their vocabularies,” said MCPL Customer Events Manager Sara Peterson-Davis, who organizes the bee. “We’re proud to offer this event and to give kids a chance to qualify for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!”

In addition to hosting the qualifying event for one regional speller to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee over Memorial Day weekend, MCPL will cover travel expenses for both the student and their parent or guardian. The Scripps National Bee will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, and finals will be broadcast on live national TV.

Saturday’s spellers represent six public school districts, four parochial schools, and three private schools in Jackson, Clay, and Platte Counties, including Blue Springs, Grandview, Hickman Mills, Independence, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City, and Park Hill. All competitors qualified for the MCPL Spelling Bee by winning their local school bee as well as scoring in the top third of the online semi-final bee hosted by the Library.

The MCPL Bee this weekend will be a single-elimination competition, meaning that if a participant misspells one word, they will no longer be in the running. The spellers will be evaluated by a panel of five judges and recorders. Dan Margolies of 91.9 FM, Classical KC, will serve as the Bee’s pronouncer.

This year’s Championship Bee will be recorded and available for viewing on MCPL’s YouTube channel after April 1. The Library will announce the winner and the winning word after the Bee concludes on Saturday, March 11. An announcement will also be shared on the Spelling Bee Facebook page.

For information on the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee, visit spellingbee.com. Information about the MCPL Bee can be found at mymcpl.org/SpellingBee. Also, “bee” sure to follow the MCPL Spelling Bee on Facebook to hear the latest buzz!