Okay, here we go...this is a hard one for me, but this is for my amazing son, Joshua Villanova, so I need to put aside any uneasiness I may feel and do what's best for my son. Let me begin by telling you about Joshua's Spelling Bee journey so far. He has now been in 4 Regional Spelling Bees in a row, 4th Grade - 7th Grade. He did amazing in all 4, but especially so in this very last one, The Scripps Los Angeles Regional Spelling Bee, which took place on March 9, 2019, at North Hollywood High School. His first 2 Regionals were The Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bees, in 2016 and 2017, both at Mt. San Antonio College, in Walnut, CA. He made the top 30 Finalists in both Bees, after some very rigorous testing. His next Regional Bee was in Los Angeles in 2018, and he tied for 5th Place. He didn't win, but he improved greatly each year. This last Regional competition in March of 2019, he did the best he's ever done! He placed 2nd overall! I couldn't be prouder of how incredibly well he's done each year. At his very first Regional competition in 4th Grade, he was interviewed by the Channel 7 10 O'Clock Eyewitness News! It was the only Regional Spelling Bee his beautiful Grandma was able to attend. We lost his Grandma, my Mom, that following 4th of July in 2016. But boy, was she so proud of him! And I know that both his Grandma and Grandpa (we lost his wonderful Grandpa, my Dad, in June of 2014) are both looking down on him and still so proud! She showed this video to everyone who came to the house to visit her! (see video below) In this interview, Joshua talks about hoping to make it to The Nationals one year. And this little boy has finally done it! This is the second year that Scripps has launched their program, RSVBee. In all past National competitions, only the one winner of the Regionals was able to go to The Nationals. With the RSVBee program, school champions who competed at the Regional level can now apply to go to The Nationals in Washington D.C. Well, we applied, and Joshua was invited to compete! We are beyond excited! The Regional winner gets to go and their registration fee, hotel, flights, food, etc., is all covered for the winner and 1 parent. Through the RSVBee program, the parent or parents are responsible for all the fees...which are quite hefty! The registration fee alone is $1,500.00, plus the hotel accommodations ($1,924 for the 6-night stay at the Bee's official hotel/convention center!), airline tickets, food, etc. As a single Mom, the expenses would be extremely difficult to cover. All in all, all the expenses add up to nearly $6,000.00. I know this will be the most amazing experience for Joshua, so I'm hoping to fundraise what I can to help offset the costs. So many people have already offered and asked how they could help out and contribute, and this was suggested as the easiest way for people to do that. Whether we raise a small amount or the entire amount, we will be so very grateful. Joshua has worked so incredibly hard for each year's Regional competition, and the work has only yet begun for The Nationals coming up (for us both, as I've been his coach each year!). He's an incredibly gifted, intelligent, multi-talented, well-rounded and wonderful young man (I may be just slightly biased! ;) ), and I know he will do amazing in Washington D.C. this coming May for Bee Week! Thank you for reading my son's story!