Thursday, June 3, 2010
The 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee begins in Washington, D.C.
This week marked the arrival of 273 of the world’s best spellers, all under the age of 16, for the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee held at the Grand Hyatt International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The origins of the term “spelling bee” predate the year 1825, and began with the use of Noah Webster’s spelling books in the classroom.
In 1925, the very first ‘National’ bee was organized by the Courier Journal in Louisville, Kentucky and brought together nine local spellers to compete. In 1941, the Scripps Howard News Service acquired sponsorship rights for the program, and today’s bee offers children from all 50 states, American protectorates and international countries, the opportunity to compete for over $40,000 worth of cash and prizes.
These 273 finalists all began their spelling journey months ago in their classrooms - from public, private, parochial, charter and home schools – an estimated 10 million competitors worldwide.
Each of those classroom winners then advanced to school-wide contests, followed by regional competitions, which then winnowed numbers down to the 273 national finalists, who yesterday competed in a computer generated written round and oral rounds two and three earlier today.
The competition, which provides high drama in the advancing stages, will be broadcast by ESPN from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 4, 2010. The last spellers remaining will then compete at 8:00 p.m. ET and be broadcast live by the ABC television network.
Over the years, this mega contest of words has provided great learning opportunities for children and has fostered excellent entertainment as found in the 2002 Academy Award nominated documentary, SPELLBOUND, and the 2006 feature film, AKEELAH AND THE BEE.
The Bee has also been put to song in the much-honored touring musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and explored further in written works such as the five-star tome of essays, Red: The Next Generation of American Writers – Teenage Girls – On What Fires Up Their Lives Today, edited by Amy Goldwasser.
Included in Red is a humorous, first-person account, “Apiarian Days,” by violinist, Samantha Gillogly, who at the actual 2001 National Bee was ousted in the 6th round on a musical term. The essay captures much of what these children face during this week of nail-biting competition.
IMHO’s thanks to the vaughanski’s YouTube Channel for the marvelous piece of video footage from the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee that concludes this post.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for “Spelling bee fun: Ideas for playtime and literacy development.”