Nonprofit leader takes over as National Spelling Bee chief
FILE - In this May 28, 2019 file photo, the Scripps National Spelling Bee trophy sits in front of competitors in Oxon Hill, Md. Breaking from a tradition of being led by former contestants, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has hired a nonprofit leader with no history in the competition as its executive director, signaling a new era for the nearly century-old showcase for the top spellers in the English language. Cincinnati-based Scripps announced Monday, March 1, 2021, that J. Michael Durnil will take over immediately as bee director. Cincinnati-based Scripps announced Monday that J. Michael Durnil will take over immediately as bee director. The bee has strong minority participation, but one minority in particular — Indian-Americans — has dominated the competition for the past two decades.
National Spelling Bee to return in mostly virtual format
In this screenshot provided by SpellPundit, spellers and organizers of the SpellPundit Online National Spelling Bee participate in semifinals Tuesday night, May 26, 2020. The bee was launched after the Scripps National Spelling Bee was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Scripps National Spelling Bee will return this year in a mostly virtual format, with the in-person competition limited to a dozen finalists who will gather on an ESPN campus at Walt Disney World in Florida, Scripps announced Monday. Instead of compressing the entire competition into a week — spellers routinely refer to Bee Week as a highlight of their young lives — the bee will be stretched over several weeks. Virtual format notwithstanding, the bee will return to its roots as a purely oral spelling competition.
Tough words, little drama, familiar champ in virtual bee
The upstart ex-spellers who launched an online spelling bee to fill the void left by the canceled Scripps National Spelling Bee had little trouble running an efficient, and sufficiently challenging, competition. When the two other remaining spellers misspelled words back to back before his turn, victory in the closest thing to a national spelling bee in this pandemic-disrupted year was his for the taking. The National Spelling Bee has always been limited to kids in middle and elementary schools, which means Navneeth and six other finalists in the SpellPundit bee will be too old to compete next year. This was also the end of the line for Simone Kaplan, the charismatic runner-up in last year's unusual Scripps bee, which ended in an eight-way tie for first place. Nidhi Achanta, who tied for second in the SpellPundit bee, is also in eighth grade, but the other runner-up, Harini Logan, is a poised sixth-grader who ought to be formidable when the Scripps bee returns.
Top spellers prepare to crown national champion, from home
Like dozens of other veteran spellers in their final year of eligibility, Anson Cook had big plans for this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, which was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The SpellPundit bee, with spellers competing from their homes over Zoom, concludes Thursday night, the same time the Scripps winner would have been decided. The champion receives $2,500, a pittance compared to the National Spelling Bees first prize of $50,000, but worth a middle-schoolers time and effort all the same. Most of the spellers who would have been favorites at the national bee quickly signed up, including the top three still-eligible finishers from last year. Yes, eight: Last year's Scripps bee ended in an eight-way tie when organizers ran out of words difficult enough to challenge the best spellers.
This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled
The Scripps National Spelling Bee won’t be held as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus, meaning years of preparation by some of the country's top spellers could go for naught. Kimble expressed confidence that the logistics of holding a bee later this year could be worked out. The Scripps bee began in 1925 and this year's, if it happens, would be the 93rd. Simone, a 14-year-old from Davie, Florida, had her regional bee called off earlier this week. A bee held in the fall would present new challenges for the academically gifted teenager, whose nonstop, year-round bee preparation includes regular private coaching sessions.
Back-to-back: Erik Williams again crowned champion of First Coast Spelling Bee
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 14 best spellers from North Florida competed live Thursday night for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and for the second year in a row, Erik Williams is moving on to Washington D.C. “I was pretty sure I knew what the word was, but I wanted to ask all of the questions just to make sure,” Erik said. Before his back-to-back wins, Erik was a runner-up during the First Coast Spelling Bee in 2018. The seventh grade St. Johns Country Day student appeared Friday on “The Morning Show.”RELATED | Interactive map of First Coast Spelling Bee contestantsErik defended his title at Jacksonville University’s Terry Concert Hall against some top notch competition from counties around Northeast Florida. Here are the contestants in the order that they competed, which was determined by a random drawing.
Middle school student repeats as St. Johns County spelling bee champion
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Manischa Wijayawardhana, a sixth-grade student at Switzerland Point Middle School, won the annual St. Johns County School District Spelling Bee Wednesday at First Coast Technical College. Wijayawardhana won by spelling the word “ascension” correctly. She also won the St. Johns County Spelling Bee last year as a fifth-grader and was the runner-up in the First Coast Regional Spelling Bee. Forty-six elementary and middle school students from 31 public and five private schools competed for the chance to represent St. Johns County in the First Coast Regional Spelling Bee scheduled for Feb. 27 at Jacksonville University. The winner of the regional spelling bee will advance to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled in May in Washington, D.C.