Alaska's students in the national spotlight at the National Spelling Bee

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (Gray DC) - Three local students rank among the elite across the country when it comes to spelling. Ketchikan native Grace Parrott is competing against 500 of our nation’s best young spellers at the Scripps National Spelling Bee and she says she is proud to represent her small hometown.

Grace Parrott says no matter how far she gets, she knows folks back in Ketchikan are proud.

“I at least got to the third round. Even if I don’t get to the finals I’m still making them proud and that makes me happy,” said Parrott.

Grace nailed her first word “ostinato”, her eye on the prize. Daniel Doudna from Fairbanks is also moving on after cruising through “scalariform”. Daniel says the word was easy in the end, but he was initially unsure.

“I hadn’t remembered hearing that word before so I just kind of asked for just clues about it,” said Doudna.

Unfortunately Anchorage’s Josh Saylor heard the sound no young speller wants to hear, the bell signaling incorrect spelling. Regardless, Josh made it to the big stage. He says the journey was well worth it. The best part for Josh?

“Going to Chick-Fil-A, because in Alaska we don’t have Chick-Fil-A,” said Saylor.

Daniel and Grace carry onto the third round that will take place Wednesday. The grand finale comes after that on Thursday.