MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Hundreds of elementary and middle school students showed up to show off their spelling talents as part of the 74th annual Miami Herald Spelling Bee on Wednesday.

More than 250 spelling champions competed at the event for Miami-Dade and Monroe county students at Jungle Island.

CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana and Miami Herald columnist Ana Veciana-Suarez emceed the event which got underway at 9 a.m.

Some of the students said they have been studying non-stop for the event and were determined to win.  While many said they could feel the pressure, others were cool as a cucumber and confident to boot.

“I’m not nervous at all.  If I don’t make it that’s okay, I tried my hardest.  If I do, great, that’s super exciting,” said Carolina Sena, a 5th grader from Somerset Academy Charter Middle School in South Miami.

“I’m nervous, I’m pretty excited though it’s definitely an experience,” said 7th grader Joshua Marzan.  “I’m just going try my best to represent my school.”

“It’s a rough thing for them not just because of the words but because it’s a lot of prep for them to just even get here,” said 5th grade teacher Suzanne Fernandez.

On Tuesday, March 11, over 120 spellers from Broward County public and private schools, grades four through eight, competed at the spelling bee in Davie.

Dylan Olster, an 8th grader at Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School’s West campus, won.  The contest ended for Olster with the correct spelling of “suffragette.”

Middle school champions in Broward and Miami-Dade receive a free one-year subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online for Kids, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, and a Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.

The elementary school champions received Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

In the end three winners were still standing.

“Well, I say it was a lot and very, very tiresome,” said Reo Cosimini who got third place.

“Imagine my surprise when I got second place. It’s the stuff that happens in movies,” said Danny Jackson who got second place.

Oscar Torres who got first place said, ‘I’m pretty excited there was a lot of preparation it was pretty frustrating sometimes.”

The champions of the middle school competition will represent Miami-Dade, Monroe and Broward counties at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.


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