STAPLES — A Menahga sixth grader, Greta Alajoki, was named champion of the virtual 2021 Regional Spelling Bee, hosted by Sourcewell.

Alajoki moves on to compete June 27 in the semifinals, which determines the top students to advance to finals at the July 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Orlando, Florida.

The top three regional finishers were: Alajoki as the champion; Chloe Leeseberg, eighth grade at Wadena-Deer Creek, as runner-up; Arabella Moore, eighth grade at Staples-Motley, second runner-up.

Each year, Sourcewell hosts the Regional Spelling Bee. For 2021, the Scripps National Spelling Bee developed a virtual platform for schools and sponsors that allowed bees to be held safely and securely via online tests. Each participant in the regional bee was a finalist in his or her respective district and was given a 24-hour window to complete the 30-minute regional bee exam.

The finals will be broadcast live on ESPN2 platforms July 8.

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Students who participated in the regional spelling bee were:

  • Bertha-Hewitt: Mariana Hansel, sixth-grade;

  • Little Falls: Beverly Rentz, sixth grader at Holy Trinity and Myla Ballou, fifth grade, Mariesa Schutz, seventh-grade and Ben Henry, eighth grade, all at Mary of Lourdes.

  • Menahga: Greta Alajoki, sixth grade;

  • Pequot Lakes: Grant Sclagel, sixth grade, Autumn Hecker, eighth grade;

  • Pillager: Hunter Woidyla, eighth grade, and Violette Metz, seventh grade;

  • Pine River-Backus: Shaunn Reyes, sixth grade;

  • Pierz: Kate Hoheisel, fifth grade, and Alex Rybaski, sixth grade;

  • Royalton: William Rausch, fifth grade;

  • Sebeka: Allee Roberts, eighth grade;

  • Staples-Motley: Arabella Moore, eighth grade;

  • Swanville: Emma Kurowski, eighth grade;

  • Wadena-Deer Creek: Chole Leeseberg, eighth grade.