The best spellers from the Bay Area will battle the dictionary in the regional spelling bee on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Amador Theater in Pleasanton.

Students from more than 230 enrolled local schools began their spelling journey in their classrooms. Grade-level winners advanced to their school bees. The next step for school winners was an online test administered in late January. The top finishers on the test advanced to compete onstage in the 2019 Bay Area Regional Spelling Bee.

Local students invited include Jeon Grace from Croce Elementary in Livermore, Urja Valdya from Pleasanton Middle School and Arya Reddyvari from Hart Middle School in Pleasanton.

In previous years, a local sponsor coordinated the regional spelling bee for the Bay Area. For the 2018-2019 school year, the region does not have an official local sponsor. With hundreds of schools enrolled in the Bee program, the Scripps National Spelling Bee stepped in to facilitate the regional competition with support and financial assistance from Visit Tri-Valley.

The Bay Area region includes schools in the following counties: Alameda, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma.

“The Bay Area holds great interest in our spelling program and we wanted to ensure the tradition of a regional competition would continue,” said Valerie Miller, communications manager for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “We thank Visit Tri-Valley for its support. We see this as a temporary solution for this year and look forward to solidifying plans for a new regional sponsor.”

Five previous Scripps National Spelling Bee national champions came from California schools. Currently, the Bay Area is home to several national champions and previous national finalists who remain actively involved in the Bee. Three will participate in an official capacity at the Bay Area spelling bee:

• Sameer Mishra, 2008 National Champion, will serve as a judge.

• Kevin Moch, 2003 third-place finisher in the national finals, will serve as pronouncer.

• George Thampy, 2000 National Champion, will serve as a judge.

The theater is located at 1155 Santa Rita Road. The competition begins at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

The champion of the Bay Area regional bee earns a spot in the national finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and will receive an expenses-paid trip to Bee Week. The prize includes six nights for the champion and one parent at the Bee’s official hotel, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, and a $1,500 travel stipend.

Bee Week 2019 is set for May 26-31 with the competition taking place May 27-30 in National Harbor, Maryland.