6 Fun BTS Facts About The 95th Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 95th Scripps National Spelling Bee is happening this week, with 231 excited kids from across the country, as well as Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Canada, and Ghana, competing to win. These spellers earned their spots by winning regional spelling bees and the competition for the trophy and $ 50 thousand prize is definitely fierce.

This year, Scripps is giving us a peek behind the scenes, as they’ve given the Associated Press access to the word selection committee panel and their pre-bee meeting. Here are some of the insider secrets they’ve learned:

  • The 21 members of the word selection committee meticulously go over the word list, after each word has been vetted by the panel and put into the appropriate round. Days before the bee, panelists meet and hear each word, its language or origin, part of speech, definition and exemplary sentence read aloud.
  • “Merriam-Webster Unabridged” is the official dictionary of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and they use it when going over the list, which as been put together in a yearlong process, to make sure the words “will challenge, but not embarrass” the elementary and middle school competitors.
  • Creating the list was a one-man operation from 1961 to 1984, but the panel was created in 1985 and their collaborative approach started in the early 1990s.
  • There are five former spelling bee champions currently serving as panelists.
  • Not everyone on the panel submits words for the list, some make sure the definitions, parts of speech, and other information are correct, and others ensure words of similar difficulty are used at the right time in the contest.
  • Last year’s winner, Harini Logan, was the first champion to win the bee in a Spell-off, spelling 22 words correctly in 90 seconds.

Source: NY Post

Photo: Getty Images

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