STAPLES-Thirty students from across Region Five will take the stage March 7 at the National Joint Powers Alliance for the 2018 Lakes Bee.

The group of spellers is comprised of students in fifth through eighth grades who were finalists or champions in their districts. The Lakes Bee champion earns a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 29-31 in Washington, D.C. NJPA will cover all costs for the speller plus one parent or guardian.

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NJPA has sponsored the bee for over 25 years. The event was at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd for many years and made the switch to NJPA's building for the first time in 2017. The region's service cooperative views it as an important opportunity for Region Five students, a news release stated.

"In a day and age where texting and shorthand are more of the norm, proper spelling and grammar can become an obstacle for our students," said Katie Embree, NJPA student academics coordinator and organizer of this year's Lakes Bee, in the release. "The students that have progressed to the regional competition have risen above by diving deeper into the English language-gaining a skill that will last a lifetime. We look forward to seeing where this takes them on their life's journey."

Check-in for the Lakes Bee opens at 1 p.m., with the spelling getting underway at 1:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.