Did any of our Senior Class grads watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee last week?! We loved how it was broadcast on ESPN and that viewers at home could play along with multiple choice answers (because, well, it’s necessary!). We found ourselves glued to the TV trying to spell words like archedictyon and solidungulate and in awe of all of the finalists, especially the winner, Zaila Avant-garde -- the first African American to win the Bee! Here’s a bit about Scripps:
The National Spelling Bee was founded in 1925 as a consolidation of several spelling bees hosted by nine newspapers. Owned by the newspaper E.W. Scripps since 1941, the event has been held annually, other than in 1943-1945 due to World War II and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the bee insect is synonymous with the organization, its word use is meant as “a gathering” or “people joining together for an activity” rather than about insects.
According to their website, The Bee’s purpose is “...to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.” The process to the national stage begins in the classroom. Schools across the United States host local spelling bees in the classrooms and the winners from each classroom move on to a school-wide bee, then a regional bee, and then national preliminaries. By the time you see the finalists on the national stage, they’ve gone through no less than 8 grueling phases! On top of a long list of eligibility requirements, in order to participate, students must not have passed beyond the 8th grade by the year before the competition or have previously won a Scripps National Spelling Bee. Ever wonder where they get their words? Merriam-Webster!
The pressure on the final stage is high, taking students through upwards of 10+ rounds (this year went 18 and has previously gone above 20!) of seemingly impossible words. Winners receive a coveted trophy, $50,000, and the bragging rights, of course! This year’s winner has also received multiple scholarship options upon her victory.
We’d love to know -- Are you a super-speller? Let us know in the comments! Congratulations to all of the finalists and a true champion, Zaila Avante-garde!
By the way -- “recondite” means “difficult for one of ordinary knowledge or intelligence to understand.” ;)
Cover Photo by: Scripps National Spelling Bee