Nearly 40 elementary and middle school students will be competing Friday to determine who is the top speller in Leavenworth County.

Nearly 40 elementary and middle school students will be competing Friday to determine who is the top speller in Leavenworth County.

The 57th annual Leavenworth County Spelling Bee will begin at 1 p.m. at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge No. 55, 300 S. 20th St.

The event is once again being organized by the Leavenworth Area Retired School Personnel Association.

Marilyn Michalls, who is coordinating the event, said LARSPA members sponsor the event each year because they believe it is important to acknowledge students for abilities outside of athletic activities.

“Through the years, typically these kids got left out,” she said.

But Michalls acknowledged this trend may be changing with activities such as Scholars Bowl.

Twenty schools from around Leavenworth County will be sending 39 students to Friday’s spelling bee. The students from grades five through eight will be representing public and private schools.

Michalls said the winner of the spelling bee will receive a $50 prize. The second-place finisher will receive a $35 prize. The third-place finisher will receive a dictionary and thesaurus.

Two students will advance from the Leavenworth County Spelling Bee to the Sunflower Spelling Bee, which will take place Feb. 25 in Hays.

The winner of the Sunflower Spelling Bee will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will take place from May 31 to June 1 in Washington, D.C.

The winner of last year’s Leavenworth County Spelling Bee was Zaniya Murray, who was a seventh-grader at Richard Warren Middle School. The winning word was “believable.”

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR