The annual La Salle, Marshall, & Putnam Counties Spelling Bee is sponsored by the Regional Office of Education in conjunction with the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa. Spelling Bee word study lists are provided by the Peoria Journal Star and distributed to each participating school. Each school holds its own spelling bee, with the winner or an alternate participating in the La Salle, Marshall, & Putnam Counties Spelling Bee.
The first-place winner's name is inscribed on the Stretch Miller Memorial Spelling Bee Traveling Plaque, which is displayed at the winner's school until the following year's Spelling Bee. Prizes provided by the Kiwanis Club and William Ieuter Trust, and Prairie Fox Books are awarded to first and second place winners. A trophy is awarded to each participant. The winner of the La Salle, Marshall, & Putnam Counties Spelling Bee proceeds to the Journal Star Central Illinois Grand Final Spelling Bee in March. The winner of that competition proceeds to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
La Salle, Marshall, & Putnam Counties have had several students compete at the national level. This Spelling Bee is open to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in all public and parochial schools in La Salle, Marshall, and Putnam Counties.