McHenry County to host local competition for Scripps spelling bee in March

One student from each school will be able to compete for chance to go onto national competition

The field of competitors for the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee being held in National Harbor, Maryland.

McHenry County will be represented in the upcoming 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee and will host a local competition on March 22 to see who will go on to the national competition, officials said.

The local competition will allow students in McHenry County elementary and middle schools to enroll for the chance to go on to the national competition and compete for a $50,000 grand prize, according to a news release from the county on Monday.

This will be the first time in a couple years McHenry County has participated in the spelling bee, McHenry County Regional Superintendent Diana Hartmann told the Northwest Herald.

Hartmann was appointed in January after the deadline had passed, and the year before, the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way, she said, adding she hopes every school eligible enrolls.

“The Scripps spelling bee for almost a century has inspired a love of learning in children, and has helped cultivate life skills, such as public speaking, time management and confidence, that last a lifetime and help children become successful adults,” Hartmann said in the release. “The McHenry County Regional Office of Education has served as an official Scripps National Spelling Bee regional partner for many years, and looks to continue this honored tradition.”

The cost for signing the county up was $5,000, Hartmann said Monday, which was paid for by her office. Regional offices of education receives its funding from the state.

Schools interested in participating have until Dec. 31 to enroll in the local competition, which will be held at McHenry County College, the release states. The entry fee is $175 a school, according to the spelling bee’s website. After enrolling, schools will have access to various study materials, word banks and the rules.

Each school is able to send one student to the local competition, Hartmann said.

The national competition will be held from May 28 to June 2 in National Harbor, Maryland, according to the release.

Hartmann’s office is seeking local sponsors to help cover the costs of the spelling bee and to send the winner to the national competition, according to the release. The package bought by her office covers travel and rooming expenses, but not other items like food. Those interested can either help cover those additional costs or reimburse Hartmann’s office.

Those interested can contact Hartmann’s office at 815-334-4055 or email her at

The Scripps Spelling Bee began in 1925 and originally was hosted by nine separate newspapers, according to the spelling bee’s website. Last year’s winner, Harini Logan, from San Antonio, Texas, won the competition’s first ever spell-off, where she spelled 22 of 26 words correctly in 90 seconds. It was her fourth time competing in the competition.