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Students to compete in LI spelling bee Sunday

Wilmarr Saint-Surin, of the Lenox School, spells a

Wilmarr Saint-Surin, of the Lenox School, spells a word at the Hofstra Long Island Regional Spelling Bee on Feb. 24, 2013. Credit: Steve Pfost

More than 100 students in grades 4 through 8 are set to compete Sunday in the Hofstra Long Island Regional Spelling Bee, with the winner going on to represent the region at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

The spelling bee, held at Hofstra University's John Cranford Adams Playhouse, is slated to include 107 students. Lisa Dresner, assistant professor of writing studies and composition at the university, will serve as head judge and moderator.

"We're very excited to host this event and we're looking forward to a wonderful day," Hofstra spokeswoman Karla Schuster said.

With the weekend forecast calling for snow on Sunday, university officials are closely monitoring the weather. The event jumps off early: Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Hofstra had to postpone last year's bee -- originally scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 10 -- because of the blizzard that began hitting the Island two days earlier, setting snowfall records of 33 inches in some spots. The event was held two weeks later.

Tickets are required for admission. The spelling bee is not open to the public.

Last year, Isabelle Scott of East Setauket, then an eighth-grader at Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School, won after properly spelling "abatement." At the national spelling bee, the 14-year-old was eliminated in the third preliminary round.

This year, the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee are scheduled to be shown on ESPN on May 29.

Last year, Arvind Mahankali, then 13, of Bayside Hills in Queens, was the victor after correctly spelling "knaidel" -- a type of dumpling -- in the 16th round. He was in the eighth grade at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside.

The 2013 national champion received a $30,000 cash prize along with an engraved trophy from Scripps; a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a complete reference library from Merriam-Webster; and $2,000 worth of reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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