The Bee 2018

Spelling bee champions from 35 area schools will compete in The Missourian’s regional spelling competition, The Bee, on Saturday, April 21 at East Central College. This is the eighth year for The Bee, organized by The Missourian, sponsored by hth companies and hosted by ECC.

Schools have been preparing all school year to select their school champion who will represent them at this spelling competition. Students in grades 4 through 8 were eligible to advance to The Bee, where they’ll have the chance to win medals, trophies and cash prizes.

Max Grimes, an eighth-grade student at Washington Middle School, won The Bee 2017, and Mariah Dodson, a fifth-grade student at Coleman Elementary School in Villa Ridge, was runner up.

To help students prepare for both their school spelling bees and The Missourian’s regional competition, the newspaper published a 12-page Study Guide to The Bee in January.  The resource still may be accessed on The Missourian’s Newspaper In Education pages at

ECC will host the competition in the John Edson Anglin Performing Arts Center located in Hansen Hall at East Central College in Union. Jon Bauer, president of East Central College, will serve as the pronouncer.

Judges will Sue Henderson and Linda Barro, ECC English instructors, and Kristin Kristin Milligan, associate director of the ECC Learning Center.

The Bee steering committee includes Eric Lause and Jennifer Hawkins, St. Clair School District, and Jennifer Baker, Terri Ogle and Patty Kellmann, retired educators, and Jay Scherder, ECC public relations director. Dawn Kitchell, educational services director for The Missourian, organizes The Bee.

Students were provided a word list in the "Tips to Better Spelling" study guide to prepare for The Bee, and the competition words will come from that list – at least to a point. According to the official rules, if the judges are unable to determine a champion through the word list provided to the schools, they’ll pull out a “secret list” of words to use.

A full-page salute to the school champions who will compete in The Bee on April 21 was published in the April 14-15 weekend’s issue of The Missourian. Family, teachers, friends and the general public are invited to watch The Bee, which begins at 9 a.m.