Two Winners at the Scripps Spelling Bee
This year, the competition was tough at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. And, for the third year in a row, two contestants were named the winner! They will share the title of best speller in the United States, and they both worked hard to earn it.
The first Scripps Spelling Bee was held in 1925 in Washington, D.C. Since then, hundred of kids have spelled their way to fame and fortune. Kids compete in smaller, local spelling bees to qualify for the National one, and study words from the Spell It! booklet. The booklet has most the words that will be used in the spelling bee—1155 of them!—but some “surprise” words also come from Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. The first round of the contest is a written test, but the other rounds are all oral, with the kids spelling the words out loud.
The Scripps Spelling Bee lasts a whole week, so the contestants get to be very good friends during that time. During Bee Week, each kid is given a book, called the ‘beekeeper.’ The kids all sign each other’s books, kind of like a yearbook for the contest. This year, there were 284 contestants in the bee. One of them was a six-year-old named Akash Vukoti, the youngest kid ever to compete. Another contestant, 11-year-old Neils Maes, was born deaf!
The two winners this year were 13-year-old Jairam Hathwar and 11-year-old Nihar Janga. Hathwar’s brother co-won the spelling bee in 2014, so spelling is in his family! And Janga impressed the audience with how many words he knew. The two boys were the last contestants standing, and they had a spell-off that lasted for 22 rounds. When the contest finally ended—in a tie—the two boys hugged and celebrated. The winning words? Nihar Janga spelled gesellschaft, and Jairam Hathwar spelled Feldendkrais.
If you want to learn more about the Scripps Spelling Bee, and how you can compete, click here!