Spellers converge for 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Thu, May 22, 2014 by Chris Kemper

For immediate release
Thu, May 22, 2014

CINCINNATI – The stage is set for the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee — when the eyes of the nation will look to young spellers vying for the coveted title of champion.

The Bee will take place May 27, 28 and 29 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

“The Scripps National Spelling Bee is one of America's most enduring celebrations of academic excellence. It’s a great American tradition,” said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “This event spotlights our mission to inspire children to improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.”

The National Spelling Bee started in 1925 with nine contestants. The E.W. Scripps Company took ownership in 1941 and, after not holding the competition for three years during World War II, has managed the Bee continuously since 1946.

2014 marks the 70th year that Scripps has operated the National Spelling Bee. In that span, the terms “Scripps” and “spelling bee” have become synonymous with one another.

In this, the 87th annual National Spelling Bee, the contestants are as exciting, diverse and complex as the words they will attempt to spell. In a competition where letters and words reign supreme, the numbers also are compelling.

This year, 281 spellers will converge from eight countries: the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Competitors hail from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe.

And 13 semifinalists are returning from last year. This includes Sriram Hathwar, a New York eighth grader who is returning for the fifth time after placing third last year; Vanya Shivashankar, the Olathe, Kansas, seventh grader – and younger sister of the Bee’s 2009 champion, Kavya Shivashankar – who placed fifth last year; and Syamantak Payra, a Houston eighth grader who tied for seventh place last year.

The competition began with more than 11 million students participating in classrooms, schools and locally-sponsored spelling bees. Only 281, or the top .000026 percent, will compete in the national championship. From those many millions, only one will rise to the top.

The first day of competition is Tuesday, May 27, but spellers will take to the stage for the first time the following day. ESPN will broadcast the Championship Finals from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 29. Other highlights are as follows.

The Bee on ESPN:

For the 21st consecutive year, ESPN and its family of channels will provide coverage of the Bee with hosts Chris McKendry, Paul Loeffler and Kaylee Hartung. This includes a play-along version where viewers can test their spelling mettle along with the competitors. The schedule is:

  • Preliminaries on Wednesday, May 28, from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. EDT (watch live; play along).
  • Preliminaries on Wednesday, May 28, from 1:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. EDT. ESPN3 will broadcast the announcement of semifinalists immediately following the conclusion of Round Three (watch live; play along).
  • Semifinals on Thursday, May 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT. ESPN2 will broadcast the announcement of championship finalists immediately following the conclusion of Round Six (watch live; play along).
  • Championship Finals broadcast live on ESPN on Thursday, May 29 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT (watch live; play along).

Bee Informed:

A wealth of information about the spellers and the Bee is available at spellingbee.com. This includes profiles about each speller, past winners and their winning words, a sample test, fun facts and, during Bee Week, round results and regular competition updates.

Bee Buzz:

There are many ways to connect with the Scripps National Spelling Bee, including Facebook and YouTube. Using the Twitter handle @ScrippsBee, the Bee will live tweet every word spelled on stage again this year, which is likely to be more than 700 words. And thousands of professional photos will be available to view and download on Flickr.

About the Scripps National Spelling Bee:

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all of their lives. Visit spellingbee.com for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company.

Contact Chris Kemper, The E. W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3862
Email: Chris.Kemper@Scripps.com

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