HONOLULU (KHON2) — There’s a spelling bee for kupuna ages 60 and over. The top kupuna speller in the state wins the grand prize of a pair of roundtrip tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies.

Spelling bees will be held in May and June in the following categories.

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Category 1: Seniors 60 to 69 years of age
Category 2: Seniors 70 to 79 years of age
Category 3: Seniors 80 years of age and above

The top two winners in the above categories will be in the 2022 statewide Kupuna Spelling Bee on Oahu on Saturday, July 23.

The bee is a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association® which touts the event as a way for kupuna to use their brains to keep themselves active and alert.

The idea of the kupuna spelling bee started with 16-year-old Iolani School junior Riley Regan who won his own spelling bee when he was in the fifth grade at Puu Kukui Elementary School on Maui.

His grandfather was recently diagnosed with alzheimer’s and dementia. Regan and his parents Lynn Araki-Regan and Keith Regan, lead the organizing efforts for the spelling bee.

“To keep him mentally alert as much as possible, we’ve encouraged him do crossword puzzles, read a book,” said Regan’s mom Lynn Araki-Regan. “What he suggested was coz of our discussions about the importance of seniors like my dad to remain mentally active, he suggested the thought of a spelling bee. to keep the brain alert.”

“We encourage senior living facilities, churches, schools, businesses and clubs on all the islands to organize a preliminary contest and help to recruit seniors to participate,” said Justin George, director of development for the Alzheimer’s Association Hawaii.

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The registration fee is $10 per person. For more information about being an organizer or becoming a contestant visit the Kupuna Spelling Bee website.