In 1925, Frank Neuhauser won the National Spelling Bee with the word gladiolus. Yet as the years have progressed, the contestants are younger and the words tougher. In 2016, Nihar Janga correctly spelt the word gesellschaft and Jairam Hathwa spelt the word Feldenkrais making them co-winners.
The Spelling Bee also referred to as Scripps National Spelling Bee, is held in Washington DC and is celebrating its 90th year. The Spelling Bee not only promotes fun competition, but literacy. When 9 newspapers got together back in 1925, they had no idea that their event would progress so far and reach out to so many. Out of 11 million spellers worldwide who try for the Bee, 291 spellers compete for a grand prize of $40,000. This is the most contestents in the history of the Bee and the competition will start with written tests as well as vocabulary tests.
Additional obstacles have been added since previous years as to thwart the outcome of two winners, but it keeps happening. The last three competitions have ended in a tie despite the secretive Scripps word team producing the toughest words yet. Last year’s co-champion, Jairam Hathwar, told ABC News "I like co-champions, It gives a lot of hope for people.”
As this year’s Bee is already making headlines for being the toughest yet, there is another world-record that has been broken. Edith Fuller is the youngest contestant in the Bee’s history, being only 5 years old when she qualified in March. There have been 6-year-old competitors before, but Edith is 5 still months younger.
So as the words are more difficult and there are more competitors than ever, what are the prizes?
1st Place: $40,000 cash prize, $2,500 U.S. savings bond
2nd Place: $30,000
3rd Place: $20,000
4th Place: $10,000
5th Place: $5,000
6th Place: $2,500
The Preliminaries are underway, and the Finals will take place in two parts on Thursday the June 1st from 10am-2pm, with Part 2 scheduled from 8:30-10:30.