2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee begins in Washington D.C.
Tue, May 27, 2008 by Mark Kroeger
WASHINGTON - The 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place this week 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, Ghana, South Korea, Canada and New Zealand.
The 288 champion spellers, ranging in age from 8- 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 Friday, May 30. 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 to 10 p.m., EDT, on Friday, May 30. Emmy Award-winning television personality Tom Bergeron will host the ABC broadcast.
Preliminary championship rounds of the bee will be simulcast live earlier in the day on ESPN and ESPN360.com from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. SportsCenter anchor Chris McKendry will host the ESPN broadcast. ESPN360.com will provide coverage of the quarterfinal rounds from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29.
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 spelling bee is primarily an oral competition conducted in rounds until only one speller remains. The first round of competition is a 50-word, computer-based spelling test conducted between May 25 and 27. Further preliminary and quarterfinal rounds will be held Thursday, May 29. The semifinal and championship rounds will be held on Friday, May 30.
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 $30,000 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 Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, on CD-ROM from Merriam-Webster.
The national champion also receives an engraved loving cup; from Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, a $5,000 scholarship; from Merriam-Webster, a $2,500 U.S. Savings Bond and a reference library; and from Encyclopedia Britannica, reference materials valued at more than $3,800.
Information about the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee can be found online at http://www.spellingbee.com/.
The E. W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) 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 15 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.