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Minnehaha student qualifies for multi-regional spelling bee

Minnehaha Elementary School fifth grader Anja Olsen qualified for the Multi-Regional State Spelling Bee in Fergus Falls after her third place finish at the regional bee Feb. 9 in Mountain Iron. (Photo courtesy of Jillian Staffon)

Anja Olsen, a fifth-grader at Minnehaha Elementary School in Two Harbors, qualified for the Minnesota Multi-Regional State Spelling Bee after finishing third at the regional competition Feb. 9 in Mountain Iron.

Anja qualified for the regional bee after finishing third at the Lake Superior School District spelling bee Jan. 10 in Silver Bay. She and three other students from LSSD traveled to the regional bee, but only Anja qualified for Tuesday's multi-regional bee Tuesday in Fergus Falls.

Following her finish in the district spelling bee, Anja dedicated herself to studying for the regional bee with the goal of advancing to the next round. Every night for an hour to an hour and a half, Anja would practice spelling different words suggested by a spelling bee website with her mom and stepfather, Jillian and Leif Staffon, and her dad, Jesse Olsen.

In the end, the hard work all paid off and Anja finished third out of 30 contestants at the regional competition in Mountain Iron and she will have the opportunity to compete again, this time with an all-expenses paid trip to Washington for the Scripps National Spelling Bee on the line.