Scripps National Spelling Bee begins today in nation’s capitol
Tue, June 01, 2004 by Mark Kroeger
WASHINGTON – The 77th Annual Scripps 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 265 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, June 3. The spellers have qualified to compete in the national competition by winning locally sponsored spelling bees in their home communities. The competition is being held in the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Washington. Round results can be monitored as they happen at the National Spelling Bee Web site, spellingbee.com.A live national broadcast of the competition will begin at 10 a.m. EDT Thursday, June 3, on ESPN2. The final rounds will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT Thursday. On Wednesday June 2, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT, ESPN2 will air a taped broadcast of round four of the competition. The Scripps 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 251 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 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, 2004. The spelling bee is primarily an oral competition conducted in rounds until only one speller remains. The first two rounds of the competition consist of a 25-word written test (Round 1, Tuesday morning, June 1) and oral competition (Round 2, Wednesday morning, June 2). At least 90 spellers will advance to the third round Wednesday afternoon based on their combined performance in the first two rounds.The National Spelling Bee word panel has compiled a list consisting of more than 850 words that will be used in the national competition. All 265 competing spellers receive cash prizes that range from $50 to $12,000 for the national champion. All spellers receive a commemorative watch, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, which consists of a $100 EE U.S. Savings bond, and a $20 gift certificate from Franklin Electronic Publishers. The national champion also receives an engraved loving cup, a $5,000 cash award from Franklin Electronic Publishers, 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 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, interactive media and television retailing. Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 15 broadcast TV stations, four cable and satellite television programming networks and a television retailing 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. HGTV reaches about 85 million U.S. television households and Food Network can be seen in about 84 million households. Scripps Networks Web sites include FoodNetwork.com, HGTV.com, DIYnetwork.com and fineliving.com. Scripps Networks programming can be seen in 86 countries. The company’s television retailing 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 48 million full-time equivalent U.S. households, including 5 million households via five Scripps owned, Shop At Home affiliated broadcast television stations. Scripps also operates Scripps Howard News Service and United Media, which is the worldwide licensing and syndication home of PEANUTS and DILBERT.