Maci Childress (left) and Aubrey Stamps will be the first students from Lyon County to ever compete in a deaf and hard of hearing spelling bee put on by the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

For the first time ever, two Lyon County students will be competing in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Regional Spelling Bee. Aubrey Stamps and Maci Childress will both be representing Lyon County.

The spelling bee is put on by the Kentucky School for the Deaf and is open to deaf and hard of hearing students in grades first through 12th. There are eight different regional spelling bees across Kentucky, and the first and second place winners from each grade at the regional competitions advance to state level.

Both students agreed that they were nervous, but excited, about competing.

“It’s kind of my first time going,” Childress said. She is in second grade, and in addition to the spelling bee, is involved in Girl Scouts, cheerleading, basketball and gymnastics. She added that her brother is jealous that she gets to go.

Stamps is in fourth grade, and she is also in cheerleading and Girl Scouts.

“I’m feeling good,” she said about going to the spelling bee. “I’m most excited because it’s my first time and I’ve never been to one.”

Stamps said that it was her mother who told her about the competition. “She said, ‘Well, there’s this contest about a spelling bee and I was wondering if you wanted to go?’ and I said ‘Sure,’ ” Stamps said. Since then, she has been practicing with her parents at home.

Childress said her parents also told her about the spelling bee. “I’m nervous because I’ve never been in one and it’s only my first time,” she said. Childress said that her practice routine consisted of a dry erase board and her parents reading her the words. If she misses one, they practice until she gets it right.

Both girls said their parents will come to cheer them on, and Childress suggested that her dog should come — but was worried she might bark through the whole thing.

Miranda Reed, the new special education director for Lyon County, echoed the girls’ excitement.

“I am so excited and proud to have, for the very first time, students from Lyon County Schools who are participating in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Regional Spelling Bee,” Reed said.

“I have always been an advocate for students with disabilities to have every opportunity afforded to them just the same as everyone else. This spelling bee does exactly that by meeting the specific needs that students who may be deaf or hard of hearing require.”

The event does that by presenting the words to the students in two ways: spoken and in sign. Students then write the words on a marker board and present them to the judges.

Two key points of the event are that every child is important and can be successful at the spelling bee and also that every child will be challenged to do their best, demonstrate academic excellence and be a leader.

“This event encourages leadership and academic excellence,” Reed said.

“I’m proud of our participants for their courage and leading the way to open this door for Lyon County Schools. As the new director of special education, my vision is to put our department on the map by proving to be the place everyone will want their child to be. We have goals to be the best and we are chasing hard after them. We have an incredible staff, students and community.”

The spelling bee is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 27 at the Lee S. Jones Convention Center. It will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.