Scripps National Spelling Bee begins today in nation's capital
Wed, June 01, 2005 by Mark Kroeger
WASHINGTON – The 78th 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, American Samoa, Canada and New Zealand.The 273 champion spellers, ranging in age from 9- to 14-years-old, will be competing for the National Spelling Bee Championship, which will be determined during the championship rounds of the competition Thursday, June 2. 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.The championship rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee will be broadcast live, exclusively on ESPN, from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT, Thursday, June 2. The live television broadcast will be sponsored by LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., a leading manufacturer of technology-based learning products. The championship rounds of the competition will be rebroadcast on ESPN2 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT, Sunday, June 5; from noon to 2 p.m. EDT, Monday, June 6; and from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT, Sunday, June 26. 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 and 264 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.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, 2005. The spelling bee is primarily an oral competition conducted in rounds until only one speller remains. The first round of the competition consists of a 25-word written test. Rounds One through Four will be held Wednesday, June 1. The championship rounds will be held on Thursday, June 2. The National Spelling Bee word panel has compiled a list consisting of more than 950 words that will be used in the national competition. All 273 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, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, on CD-ROM from Merriam-Webster and a $20 gift certificate from Franklin Electronic Publishers. Franklin will award the top 10 to 12 finishers a limited edition electronic dictionary and thesaurus. The national champion also receives an engraved loving cup, a $5,000 cash award from Franklin Electronic Publishers, a $5,000 cash award from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., a $5,000 scholarship from Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, 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 library of reference works.About ScrippsScripps is a diverse media concern with interests in national lifestyle television networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television, television retailing, interactive media and licensing and syndication. All of the company’s media businesses provide content and advertising services via the Internet.Scripps is organized into the following operating divisions. Scripps Networks, including the company’s growing portfolio of popular lifestyle television networks. Scripps Networks brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living, Great American Country (GAC) and HGTVPro. Scripps Networks Web sites include FoodNetwork.com, HGTV.com, DIYnetwork.com, fineliving.com and gactv.com. Scripps Networks programming can be seen in 86 countries.Scripps Newspapers, including daily and community newspapers in 19 markets and the Washington-based Scripps Media Center, home to the Scripps Howard News Service. Scripps newspapers include the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel and the Ventura County (Calif.) Star. Scripps Television Station Group, including six ABC-affiliated stations, three NBC affiliates and one independent. Scripps operates broadcast television stations in Detroit; Cleveland; Cincinnati; Phoenix; Tampa; Baltimore; Kansas City, Mo.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Lawrence, Kan.Shop at Home, the company’s television retailing subsidiary, which 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 53 million full-time equivalent U.S. households, including 5 million households via five Scripps-owned Shop at Home affiliated television stations.United Media, a leading licensing and syndication company. United Media is the worldwide licensing and syndication home of Peanuts, Dilbert and about 150 other features and characters.