Scripps National Spelling Bee is Back

May/10/2022 / by Team SEEMA
Image credits: Shutterstock

234 spellers at 2022 Bee Week

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is back again and will welcome 234 spellers to National Harbor, Maryland, from May 31st – June 2nd for the national rounds of competition and the first fully in-person Bee since 2019.

The competitors advanced through local and regional bees that took place in April. The preliminaries are on May 31, the quarterfinals and semifinals June 1 and the finals on June 2. The semifinals and finals will be hosted by accomplished actor, director, educator and lifelong children’s literacy advocate LeVar Burton.

In 1985, a 13 year old 8th grader from Chicago, Illinois was the first among the many Indian American kids that won the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition. A competition which is held each year since 1925. Though the Champion last year was not an Indian American, the list of contestants this year representing the diaspora is long. There is one from nearly every State –Washington, Utah, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Indiana, California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana and the list goes on.

Highlights of the 2022Scripps National Spelling Bee field:

  • Four countries are represented in addition to the U.S: the Bahamas, Canada, Germany and Ghana. There are also spellers from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • The national qualifiers range in age from 7 to 15.
  • 45 have previously competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • 23 have relatives who are former national competitors.
  • Four were finalists in 2021, including three who tied for fourth place.
  • The champion will receive a $50,000 cash prize.

The 2022 competition marks a return to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside of Washington, D.C. The Bee was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was held in a mostly virtual format in 2021. The 2021 finals, which featured 11 spellers, were held in-person at ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando in order to facilitate pandemic-related safety protocols. Zaila Avant-garde was the 2021 champion, becoming the first Black American to win the Bee. 

“The 2022 national competitors represent a diverse group of dedicated, hardworking and perseverant students,” said Dr. J. Michael Durnil, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “As they prepare for their moment at the microphone, the Bee is working to make the whole week an unforgettable experience for them – both on and offstage. 

“This year, our spellers will participate in brand-new Bee Week opportunities that ignite their curiosity and help them connect with the world around them – central pieces of the Bee’s commitment to illuminate pathways to lifelong learning. We hope to make it a once-in-a-lifetime moment for every student who attends.”

Spellers will have the chance to participate in experiences ranging from activities that inspire fun and relaxation outside of the competition to workshops focused on STEM and the arts. The week will include a group mural-painting opportunity, Minecraft coding academy, coding virtual reality camp, creative writing workshop, D.C.-area tours and a book-based team challenge in partnership with the Scripps Howard Foundation.