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 50 Years of 'Can I Have It in a Sentence, Please?'

In today's tech-driven, auto-correct world of touch screens, dictation apps, and emoji-filled conversations, it's refreshing to see middle school students compete in the time-honored academic competition of the spelling bee.

Fifty years since the first San Diego County student spelled their way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, 103 students will take the stage March 14 and prove that spelling still matters. 

The 50th annual The San Diego Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee at the Town and Country San Diego features student competitors in grades 6 to 8 from public and independent schools from across the county.

The event begins at 9:15 a.m. and generally goes until about 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend, but if you can't make it in person, don't worry about it! 

  • The Countywide Spelling Bee will be streamed live at
  • @SanDiegoCOE will be tweeting live from the event with updates and photos.
  • Pictures from the event will also be on Instagram and Facebook using #SDBee.
  • You can join the conversation, cheer on your student, and share pictures from the event using #SDBee.

The winning speller will go on to represent San Diego County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May, potentially building on San Diego's winning history at the national competition.

San Diego County has a history of having a strong showing at the national level. In 2005, Poway student Anurag Kashyap won the national championship, and in 2012, Francis Parker School student Snigdha Nandipati won her final round for the championship.

The Countywide Spelling Bee is an event of The San Diego Union-Tribune presented by the San Diego County Credit Union in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education, ABC 10News, and Southwest Airlines.