National Spelling Bee is underway, and three Michiana students are competing

After opening with 291 spellers, the largest field in its 90-year history, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will wrap up Thursday, as 40 finalists will compete for the national championship and a $40,000 prize.

Faith Baca of Aurora, an eighth-grader at the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, successfully spelled "sempiternal", which means eternal and unchanging.

Among the contestants is 6-year-old Edith Fuller, the youngest person ever to qualify for the national bee.

"I was sad she didn't make the finals, but you know what?" Her final question drew laughter from the crowd and smiles from the judges.

Her first word on Wednesday was "nyctinasty", the movement of plants in response to the onset of darkness. "I didn't want to get my hopes up", she said.

"She's doing O.K.so far", he said.

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At the end of Wednesday's oral competition, Propper was among four of the nine Upstate New York regional spelling champions who remained in the national contest. A second part of the finals is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. To determine those spellers, the scores of the preliminary vocabulary and spelling test are considered.

Also competing was West Carroll eighth-grader Olivia Charles, of Mount Carroll, who missed her second-round word stephanotis, a genus of flowering plants, by swapping the "a" with an "e".

The finals are now being broadcast on ESPN 2.

The first place victor will get $40,000 cash prize and $2,500 U.S. savings bond; and the second and third winners will get $30,000 and $20,000, respectively.

While in Washington D.C., he said he visited many fascinating places including an air and space museum.

Fifteen spellers have advanced to the primetime finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where they'll test their knowledge of Webster's Unabridged dictionary.

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