The Scripps National Spelling Bee starts today, and here is a good local reason to be following along. Ava Becken! She is an 8th grader from Faribault and attends Northfield Middle School. 

According to her bio page online Ava likes band class and watching The Great British Baking Show. You can follow her through the competition by knowing her spelling number is 278. Other Minnesotans competing on the National stage are Laura Breed of Eagan, Ainsley Boucher of Crookston, Chloe Holoman of Royalton, Briana Joseph of Fairmont, Sarah Lahti of Little Canada, and Peter Clementson of New Brighton.

The journey that these 7 Minnesotans are on began 11 million spellers and more than eight months ago in classrooms across America. They all shared one dream: make it to the national competition in Washington, D.C.

Only one of these 519 spellers will turn their dream into reality.

Last year 12-year-old Ananya Vinay of Fresno, California correctly spelled "marocain" to win the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.