Friday 4 Jun, 2010

2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee

How do you spell…ratatouille?  Your word is…ambidextrous.


Today, 273 spellers will be competing in the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee, which takes place at the Grand Hyatt Washington in downtown Washington, D.C.  The National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion that is administered as a non-profit by E.W. Scripps Company and local sponsors in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, New Zealand and South Korea.

Many people have seen the films “Akeelah and the Bee,” which portrays a young African-American girl from Southern California who makes her way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and “Spellbound,” a documentary following eight of the 1999 spelling bee competitors.  From watching these two films, you can see the various backgrounds these young students come from. 

This year the 273 contestants represent the greatest number of United States-based spellers in the history of the National Spelling Bee, and there are slightly more boys (144) in the competition than girls (129).  The 2010 spellers range in age from 8-years-old to 15-years-old, but the average age of a 2010 speller is 13-years-old.  At least 20 of the spellers have had a relative compete in the national finals, and there is one four-year Scripps National Spelling Bee repeater, 10 three-year repeaters and 45 two-year repeaters.  Three of the 2009 championship finalists are competing this year as well.  Surprisingly, when asked how they trained for the National Spelling Bee, they said they received coaching solely from their parents, siblings and friends.  The 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals will air on ABC at 8:00 EST tonight.

Vanya Shivashankar is the 2010 National Spelling Bee’s youngest contestant Photo credit: Ricky Carioti-The Washington Post