The annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is open to students in grades 5-8, is conducted in four stages. There is a classroom oral or written qualifying test and the top two spellers from each classroom qualify for the school spelling bee. The top qualifiers go on to compete for the school title (one at the elementary school and one at the middle school).
The winner and runner-up of the HCS school bee go on to compete in a regional bee in Ottawa County. The winning speller from that competition goes on to the Greater Grand Rapids Spelling Bee at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. The student who wins there is sent to Washington D. C., all expenses paid, to compete in the National Spelling Bee. The spelling bee is a wonderful opportunity to challenge students who have a love of words, can differentiate letter sounds, and can learn the basics of origin and derivation to help them spell correctly.