Sebastian Shields, a seventh grader at Saco Middle School, gets a rousing sendoff from his schoolmates Friday as he heads to Washington, D.C., to match wits with the country’s best young spellers. Shields earned the right to represent Maine after he battled through 50 rounds and outlasted 14 competitors during the statewide bee in March. The National Spelling Bee starts Monday and ends Thursday evening with the final 16 spellers competing on ESPN.

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