The Scripps National Spelling Bee is under way in Washington D.C.
There are 562 spellers at the bee this year, the largest group ever. Sixteen North Texas students are in the competition.
It's a journey that started more than eight months ago, in classrooms across the country.
"It's amazing, I've been watching the bee for years and I'm finally here," said Sia Srivastava from Prosper. "I normally am nervous when I'm spelling on stage, but I think it's a huge honor just to get to the stage and actually be there."
Srivastava, a 5th grader at Folsom Elementary, will be wearing bee earrings for good luck. She's already winner -- having won the Doodle4Google Contest for the entire state of Texas in 2018.
Other first-timers, like Dallas International School 6th grader Saida Bidiwala, are finding their own ways to prepare for the pressure under the bright lights.
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"For stage fright, I've done many plays on stage before. I've been on stage for other spelling competitions," said Bidiwala.
Meanwhile, Lewisville Middle Schooler Sonika Harish is making her second trip to the national bee.
"I think the first time around it was a learning experience," said Harish. "This time around I'm looking forward to learning new words and meeting new people, because that's what it's all about."
Shomoy Kamal of Sherman's Piner Middle School is also returning to the bee.
"This time I feel like I'm more prepared than last time," said Kamal. "I'm more comfortable.. I've been here before."
Naysa Modi, a 13-year-old from Frisco's Reynolds Middle School, will be back for one last crack at the bee this year, she finished runner-up last year.
The word that knocked Modi out of last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee was "Bewusstseinslage."
Last year's winner was Karthik Nemmani of McKinney's Scoggins Middle School spelled "Koinonia" correctly.
The top speller gets $50,000 in cash and the National Spelling Bee trophy.
The final round is on Thursday.