Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee competition begins in nation’s capital

Tue, May 28, 2002 by Mark Kroeger

WASHINGTON – The 75th Annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee begins Wednesday in Washington D.C, featuring top spellers from across the U.S. and including competitors from Europe, Guam, Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Bahamas and American Samoa.The 250 champion spellers, ranging in age from 9- to 15-years-old, will be competing for the National Spelling Bee Championship, which will be determined during the closing rounds of the competition Thursday afternoon. The spellers have qualified to compete in the national competition by winning locally sponsored spelling bees in their home communities.The final rounds of the competition will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN starting at 10 a.m. EDT Thursday. The competition is being held in the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Washington.The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest running educational promotion. The competition is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E. W. Scripps Company in Cincinnati and 238 local sponsors. The majority of local spelling bee sponsors are daily and weekly newspapers. This year’s competition is the 75th spelling bee since the event was started in 1925 by the Louisville Courier-Journal. Scripps Howard assumed sponsorship of the program in 1941, but did not hold spelling bees during the World War II years of 1943, 1944 and 1945. “Each year we gather in Washington D.C. to celebrate the academic achievements of the world’s top young spellers,” said Paige P. Kimble, director of the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee and 1981 national spelling champion. “While we’re here to select a national spelling champion, it’s important to recognize that all of the 250 young scholars who are assembled in Washington this week have already distinguished themselves as exceptional spellers. Qualifying to compete in the national competition is a significant accomplishment in its own right.”The purpose of the National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. The program is open to students who have not reached their 16th birthday on or before the date of the national finals and who have not advanced beyond the eighth grade at the time of their school finals.The spelling bee is an oral competition conducted in rounds until only one speller remains. New this year, “Round Two” will be a 25-word written test that will determine which students will advance to the final rounds on Thursday. Spellers will advance to the third round based on the number of words they spell correctly on the written test. At least 80 spellers will advance to the final rounds.The National Spelling Bee staff has compiled a list consisting of more than 750 words that will be used in the national competition. All 250 competing spellers receive cash prizes ranging from $75 to $12,000 for the national champion. All spellers also receive a commemorative watch from the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee and the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, which consists of a $100 EE U.S. Savings bond. The national champion also receives an engraved loving cup, and, from Encyclopedia Britannica, one set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, one set of the Great Books of the Western World, and the 2002 Britannica CD. The national champion also receives a $1,000 U.S. savings bond and a reference library from Merriam-Webster.The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is administered year-round on a not-for-profit basis by The E. W. Scripps Company. Scripps is a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, national television networks and interactive media. Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 10 broadcast TV stations and four cable television networks. Scripps national television network brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY -- Do It Yourself Network and Fine Living. Scripps Networks programming can be seen in 25 countries. The company also operates Scripps Howard News Service, United Media, the worldwide licensing and syndication home of PEANUTS and DILBERT, and 31 Web sites, including hgtv.com, foodtv.com, diynet.com, fineliving.com and comics.com.

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