The spelling bee in Nyssa is on – but it will be words at a distance

(The Enterprise/Kezia Setyawan)

NYSSA – Malheur County youngsters will soon have a chance to compete for the chance to represent the county at the Scripps National Spelling Bee this spring. The culminating competition will be hosted virtually on March 11 by Nyssa Elementary School, with 18 schools and students from the first through eighth grades participating. 

It will be the fifth year in a row that Nyssa has hosted the event, and the first time that it’s strictly online. The event is free and the public is invited to watch. 

Students have had the opportunity to study using grade level lists provided by Scripps with words pulled from literature for their age group, said Matt Murray, the principal at Nyssa Elementary School. 

There will be nine competitions, one for each grade level followed by a master bee pitting the winners of the grade level bees against one another. The winner of the master bee will go on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is normally held in Washington, D.C., but will also be online this year.

In 2019, the Malheur County Spelling Bee for the first time sent its winner to Washington. The student was in sixth grade at Nyssa at the time and finished in the top 200 nationwide, said Murray.

“It was just an opportunity to get out there and discover things on the national level,” Murray said. “We were proud of that. It’s a completely different level of competition.”

News tip? Contact reporter Liliana Frankel at [email protected] or 267-981-5577.

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