Local Hoosiers in a battle of wits at 90th National Spelling Bee

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (Gray DC) - Hundreds of students from across the country convened just outside of our nation’s capital for the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, vying for the crown.

Sam Thomas says hearing the National Spelling Bee announcer say, "Correct" is the best feeling in the world.

“Correct,” always the favorite word of the competition, is what Sam Thomas heard right off the bat.

“I just live for that moment,” said Thomas. “That’s the best feeling ever.”

The South Bend student says he has been trying since fourth grade to make it to the National Spelling Bee. Sam says, the key to the Bee is to study, study, study.

“Just don’t give up, just keep on trying, and maybe some day you’ll come here,” said Thomas.

Sam Stephens is from Stevensville, MI. He says the nerves hit him hard when he got onstage, but he is thrilled to be representing his home.

“I’m proud. It’s been really cool to do that,” said Stephens.

Grace Jones was one of the first to spell Wednesday. When she nailed her word, some of her nerves wore off.

“I felt…overjoyed. It was good to have that feeling,” said Jones.

The New Carlisle, IN native says the competition itself is great, but it is the memories offstage that she will cherish.

“I just like being, like, with the other spellers. It’s really fun to hang out with people and make new friends here,” said Jones.

The Spelling Bee continues Thursday. The final round takes place Thursday night.