Rochester, MN  ( KROC AM News) - An 8th grader from the Byron School District will represent the region at the 89th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

Benjamin Lee claimed the 1st place trophy Tuesday morning in the Southeast Minnesota Spelling Bee sponsored by the Southeast Service Cooperative. Lee was among the 76 students from 37 school districts that competed in two regional spelling bees that were used to select the 12 finalists who participated in the regional championship in Rochester. He won the trip to Washington D.C. for the national competition by correctly spelling “suffocate.”

8th grader Shenali DeSilva from Pacelli Catholic Schools was the 1st runner up, while 7th grader Thomas York from the Rochester Catholic Schools was the 2nd runner up this year.