2010 National Spelling Bee features record number of spellers from the United States

Thu, May 20, 2010 by Paige Kimble

When Bee Week kicks off Monday, May 31, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will welcome 273 spelling champions to Washington, D.C., for the 83rd installment of the prestigious academic showcase.

The Bee long ago expanded to include sponsors from all corners of the world, but the growing popularity of the program in the United States is underscored by the attendance this year of 266 American spellers, surpassing last year's record of 265.

Bee Week

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the culmination of months - and often years - of preparation. Twenty-five percent of the spellers have competed in the Bee previously or have family members who have competed in the Bee. All of the spellers have qualified to compete in the Bee by winning locally sponsored spelling bees in their home communities.

The first day of competition for the Bee begins Wednesday, June 2, at the Grand Hyatt Washington. The Bee will utilize a 50-word computerized test for Round One of the Preliminaries.

For the second year in a row, each speller will have the opportunity to spell onstage twice during the preliminaries on Thursday, June 3. Previously, spellers had only one opportunity to spell onstage during the Preliminaries. The spellers with the best results in the Preliminaries will qualify for the Semifinals on Friday, June 4.

Convenient ways to follow the action

Nationwide, viewers can tune into the Bee's live broadcasts:

  • The ABC Television Network will provide coverage of the championship rounds Friday, June 4, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT.  Chris Harrison, host of ABC's "The Bachelor," and Erin Andrews, sportscaster and "Dancing With the Stars" contestant, will host the ABC broadcast.
  • For the 17th consecutive year, ESPN will be at the Bee, broadcasting the Semifinals Friday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT. Sage Steele, co-host of the live daytime "SportsCenter" editions, will host the ESPN broadcast.
  • ESPN3 will air Round Three of the Preliminaries from 1:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 3.

For those who can't make it to a television but want to stay current on all the developments, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will tweet throughout Bee Week on www.twitter.com/scrippsbee.

Facts about the spellers:

  • Spellers hail from across the United States and from American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe; also, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
  • English is not the first language of 21 spellers. First languages among those spellers include Spanish, Telegu, Tagalog and others.
  • Spellers speak more than 30 languages and dialects including Hebrew, Vietnamese, Chinese and Hindi.
  • Spellers range in age from 8 to 15 years old; 62 percent are either 13 or 14 years old.

Additional information about the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee can be found online at www.spellingbee.com.

About the Scripps National Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company and 268 local spelling bee sponsors. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all of their lives.

About Scripps

The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse, 131-year-old media enterprise with interests in television stations, newspapers, local news and information Web sites, and licensing and syndication. The company's portfolio of locally focused media properties includes: 10 TV stations (six ABC affiliates, three NBC affiliates and one independent); daily and community newspapers in 13 markets and the Washington, D.C.-based Scripps Media Center, home of the Scripps Howard News Service; and United Media, the syndicator of approximately 150 features and comics. For a full listing of Scripps media companies and their associated websites, visit http://www.scripps.com/.

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