HOUSTON -

Two local kids are showing off their impressive spelling skills to a national audience.

The two middle schoolers are both returning contestants to the Scripps National Spelling Bee and both made it through to Thursday's semifinal round.

Shobha Dasari, of Friendswood, is a seventh grader at Pearland Junior High School West and Syamantak Payra is an eighth grader at Westbrook Intermediate School in Houston.

Both spellers made it through Round 3 of the preliminaries Wednesday afternoon and are among 46 young spellers that will move on the semifinals Thursday morning. Dasari had the second highest preliminary round score.

Last year, Dasari tied for 19th place and Payra tied for 7th place.