Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee begins in Washington D.C.
Tue, May 27, 2003 by Mark Kroeger
WASHINGTON – The 76th Annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee begins today in Washington D.C, featuring top spellers from across the U.S. and including competitors from Europe, Guam, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Bahamas and American Samoa. The 251 champion spellers, ranging in age from 8- 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. 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. Rounds can be monitored as they happen at the National Spelling Bee Web site, spellingbee.com.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 243 local sponsors. The majority of local spelling bee sponsors are daily and weekly newspapers.Spellers and their escorts arrived in Washington D.C. during the Memorial Day weekend. They've been participating in a variety of events sponsored by the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, including a Memorial Day barbecue and tours of the nation's capitol and surrounding vicinity on Tuesday.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 by Feb. 1, 2003. The spelling bee is an oral competition conducted in rounds until only one speller remains. The second round of the competition consists of a 25-word written test that determines which students advance to the final rounds on Thursday. Spellers 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 word panel has compiled a list consisting of more than 750 words that will be used in the national competition. All 251 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 and other reference works. 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. Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Scripps is a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, national television networks, interactive media and television-retailing. Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 10 broadcast TV stations, four cable and satellite television programming services and a home shopping network. All of the company’s media businesses provide content and advertising services via the Internet.Scripps Networks brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY -- Do It Yourself Network and Fine Living. Home & Garden and Food Network each can be seen in about 80 million U.S. television households. Scripps Networks is home to three of the Internet’s most popular Web sites – foodtv.com, hgtv.com and diynet.com. Scripps Networks programming can be seen in 33 countries. The company’s home shopping subsidiary, Shop At Home Network, markets a growing range of consumer goods directly to television viewers and visitors to the Shop At Home Web site, shopathometv.com. Shop At Home reaches about 46 million full-time equivalent U.S. households.Scripps also operates Scripps Howard News Service and United Media, which is the worldwide licensing and syndication home of PEANUTS and DILBERT.