Students from all around Lauderdale County will compete in a spelling competition on Friday.
Around 50 fourth through eighth graders from the Lauderdale County School District and Russell Christian Academy will compete in the annual Lauderdale County Spelling Bee at 9 a.m. Friday at Meridian Little Theatre.
The event is sponsored by The Meridian Star, Meridian Little Theatre and the Lauderdale County School District.
The top four spellers from Friday's competition will receive first, second, third and fourth place winners will receive a trophy. The first-place winner will go on to compete in the state spelling bee in Jackson, and the state bee winner will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 27 to May 29.
Nationwide, about 11 million students are expected to participate in the spelling competition that began in 1925.
DeShannon Davis, director of federal programs and student data for Lauderdale County schools, noted the benefits of students competing in the spelling bee.
“In today's competitive economy, those with literacy skills have a distinct advantage," Davis said. "Studies show that more literate individuals gain employment more easily and earn better salaries. Our district strives to focus on phonemic awareness and word knowledge in order to build literacy skills. One method of doing this is by participating in spelling bees.”
Spelling bees provide a way for students to learn grammar, enhance vocabulary, develop a range of cognitive skills, gain confidence, set and reach goals, all while competing in a supportive environment, she said.
"The spelling bee is one way to encourage local students," said Bill Graham, the news editor of The Meridian Star.
"Good students make good citizens."