These spellers know their words! They competed in the regional spelling bee and will be advancing on to the SE MN Final Spelling Bee. Shown, from left, are Devon Nerstad (2nd place), Shane DeSilva (1st place), Marisa Alvarado (3rd place) and Olivia Fratianni (5th place). <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Photo courtesy of Darla Nerstad
These spellers know their words! They competed in the regional spelling bee and will be advancing on to the SE MN Final Spelling Bee. Shown, from left, are Devon Nerstad (2nd place), Shane DeSilva (1st place), Marisa Alvarado (3rd place) and Olivia Fratianni (5th place).

Photo courtesy of Darla Nerstad
Two regional spelling bees were held on Feb. 12 at the Southeast Service Cooperative in Rochester. Fifty-six students representing 37 school districts in southeast Minnesota participated in the two bees coordinated by the Southeast Service Cooperative.

The top 12 spellers (six from each bee) now advance to the Final Spelling Bee on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 9 a.m., at the Southeast Service Cooperative.

The grand champion of the final bee will advance to the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 26 to June 1.

Spring Grove eighth-grader Devon Nerstad will take place in the final bee after finishing second in the regional competition behind Shane DeSilva, a seventh-grader from Pacelli Catholic Schools.

"Devon enjoys the experience of going to the spelling bee and participating. He's become friends with some of the others as he has seen them before in other bees. [This is his third bee and the others have also been at multiple bees.]," explained his mom, Darla.

"It has been a fun experience for him. He is involved in other activities, and that makes finding time to study a little difficult sometimes.

"The words do get progressively harder, and so knowing what words to study is also a challenge. But, he is looking forward to the next level of competition."

Other students advancing to the Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee are:

3rd place - Marisa Alvarado, Kasson-Mantorville Public Schools, 8th grader;

4th place - Christine Farnberg, Rochester Catholic Schools, 6th grader;

5th place - Olivia Fratianni, Kasson-Mantorville Public Schools, 6th grader;

6th place - Dylin Danielson, Lanesboro Public Schools, 8th grader;

Alternate 1 - Jens Lange, Albert Lea Public Schools, 7th grader; and

Alternate 2 - Miranda Cox, Mabel-Canton Public Schools, 7th grade.

Students qualifying from the second part of the two-part regional bee are:

1st place - Emma Bucknam, Winona Public Schools, 5th grader;

2nd place - Maxfield Brevick, Chatfield Public Schools, 6th grader;

3rd place - Alyssa Mancilman, Zumbrota-Mazeppa Public Schools, 5th grader;

4th place - Emma Rector, Rochester Schaeffer School, 7th grader;

5th place - Jackson Hillmann, Northfield Public Schools, 8th grader;

6th place - Olivia Sailer, Wabasha-Kellogg Public Schools, 7th grader;

Alternate 1 - Anna Weber, Northfield Public Schools, 6th grader; and

Alternate 2 - Nick Brustuen, Pine Island Public Schools, 8th grader.

Good luck to Devon as he advances to the next level of competition!