Some local students from the east are participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee which kicked off Tuesday in Maryland.
Lauren Lim, 12-years-old, is a seventh grader at Hope Middle School in Greenville.
And 12-year-old Matthew Griffin is a sixth grader from Bailey, Nash County. He is home schooled.
This year there's a new twist to the competition. The 281 contestants will not only need to know how to spell a word, but they now must also know what the word means.
It's the first time in the 86-years of the competition that there will be a vocabulary component.
The new rules are expected to rattle some nerves because they were announced less than two months before the competition.
A word's definition will count for 50-percent of a speller's overall score.
It will also determine which contestants move onto the semi-final and championship rounds.
The championship is set for Friday night.