2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee begins today in Washington D.C.

Tue, May 29, 2007 by Mark Kroeger

WASHINGTON - The 2007 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 286 champion spellers, ranging in age from 10- to 15-years-old, will be competing for the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship, which will be determined during the semifinal and championship rounds of the competition Thursday, May 31. The spellers have qualified to compete in the national competition by winning locally sponsored spelling bees in their home communities. The national competition will be held in the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Washington.

The ABC Television Network will provide live coverage of the championship rounds from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., EDT, on Thursday, May 31. Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts will host the ABC broadcast.

Semifinal rounds of the bee will air live earlier in the day on ESPN from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT. SportsCenter anchor Chris McKendry will host the ESPN broadcast.

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 280 local sponsors. The majority of local spelling bee sponsors are daily and weekly newspapers.

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 of 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, 2007.

The spelling bee is primarily an oral competition conducted in rounds until only one speller remains. Preliminary and quarterfinal rounds - including a 25-word multiple-choice test - will be held Wednesday, May 30. The semifinal and championship rounds will be held on Thursday, May 31.

The National Spelling Bee word panel has compiled a list consisting of more than 1,000 words that will be used in the national competition.

Cash prizes for competitors range from $50 to $20,000 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; a $20 gift certificate from Franklin Electronic Publishers; and an iQuest handheld from LeapFrog.

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; from Merriam-Webster, a $2,500 U.S. Savings Bond, a reference library, and a $5,000 cash award and 50 reference works to the school or library of the champion's choice; and from Encyclopedia Britannica, reference materials valued at more than $3,800.

Information about the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee can be found online at http://www.spellingbee.com/.

About Scripps

The E. W. Scripps Company (www.scripps.com) is a diverse and growing media enterprise with interests in national cable networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, interactive media, and licensing and syndication.

The company's portfolio of media properties includes: Scripps Networks, with such brands as HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living and Great American Country; daily and community newspapers in 17 markets and the Washington-based Scripps Media Center, home to the Scripps Howard News Service; 10 broadcast TV stations, including six ABC-affiliated stations, three NBC affiliates and one independent; Scripps Interactive Media, including leading online search and comparison shopping services, Shopzilla and uSwitch; and United Media, a leading worldwide licensing and syndication company that is the home of PEANUTS, DILBERT and approximately 150 other features and comics.

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