Nearly 40 students in the Brainerd lakes area will put on their thinking caps Friday.
Thirty-nine students, including seven from Brainerd, will compete in The Lakes Bee at 2 p.m. Friday at Washington Middle School in Brainerd.
Students from Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties will compete in the regional spelling bee sponsored by the Dispatch and the National Joint Powers Alliance. Students in eighth grade and younger who advanced in their district spelling bees qualified for the regional bee.
The winner of the regional bee will advance to the 78th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee May 31-June 2 in Washington, D.C.
Brainerd students who qualified for the regional bee are Aidan Breen, Jared Anderson and Jolene Fitch, all eighth-graders at Franklin Junior High School; Jillian Anderson, a sixth-grader at Forestview Middle School in Baxter; and Alexandra Buscher, Heidi Koopman and Sarah Dens, all seventh-graders at Forestview.
The students were given a spelling bee booklet to help them prepare for the regional spelling bee.
Jillian said she is reading one page at a time over and over until she has the words memorized. However, she said there are between 60-80 pages and each page has a lot of words on it.
Jillian said most students are worried about doing their best. She said no matter if they win or lose, it is OK because they did their best.
Jillian plans to have a headset with her before the spelling bee to play her favorite CD, "Radio Disney," to help her relax.
Heidi said when she gets nervous just thinking about the spelling bee she plays video games to relax. Her mother has been quizzing her since the district bee in January.
Alexandra said, "My initial strategy is that I'm going to wing it. I've been practicing but there are too many words."
Jolene lost her spelling book so she hasn't been able to study. She said her mom is cleaning the house to see if she can find it.
"I'm excited to compete," she said. "But I'm really nervous. ... I just have to take deep breaths."
Sarah said it is hard to study for this type of spelling bee. She said a student can study a lot and then go blank during the competition.
Aidan, who won the Brainerd District Spelling Bee in January, agreed with Sarah.
"You can study all you want and then blank out," Aidan said. "I try to practice, but I'll probably wing it."
Aidan said, "It's hard not to be nervous. After a couple of rounds, I'll relax."
Aidan and his classmate, Jared, both have experience from competing in the regional bee last year. Jared said he plans to try to stay calm during the bee. He said he has been reading in his spare time to prepare.
Students register for the bee at 1:15 p.m.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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