Students from international schools across the country competed Saturday in Japan's first-ever Spelling Bee, battling to correctly spell English words and book a ticket to the finals in the United States.

Sonia Ann Schlesinger, 13, emerged as the winner among the 55 contestants aged 6 to 14 from 28 international and U.S. military base schools.

The competition was hosted by The Japan Times under authorization from E.W. Scripps Co., which organizes the annual National Spelling Bee contest in Washington, D.C.