Eleven students from across the nation are finalists in the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The bee kicked off Tuesday with 231 students who have been spelling a dictionary of difficult words.

Missouri had seven students compete in the annual American tradition to promote literacy. Although they did not make it to the finals, they gave it their all.

Sonia Kulkarni, a seventh grader from St. Louis, and Garrett Fry, a seventh grader from Blue Springs, made it the furthest. They advanced to the semifinals.

The other Missouri spelling bee participants are:

•Aanya Shetty, a seventh grader, from Columbia
•Mariah Coffey, a sixth grader, from Harrisonville
•Colby Armes, a sixth grader, from Farmington
• Tyler Tang, a fifth grader, from Springfield
• Julianna Mullins, an eighth grader, from Trenton

The final round is Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. CST.

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