spelling bee finalists

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is returning this year after a year’s hiatus. (spellingbee.com photo)

The Scripps National Spelling Bee announced its group of 209 spellers who were named as finalists for the 2021 competition, with dozens of Indian American kids vying to claim the championship.

Should one of the more than 70 Indian Americans claim the top spot in the Bee, it would extend Indian American supremacy in the event dating back to 2008.

Spanning 12 bees, a total of 21 Indian Americans have been declared champion or co-champions – including seven kids in the last competition in 2019 (see India-West article here: https://bit.ly/3urzPEH). The Bee was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Beginning June 12, spellers will compete virtually in the first three rounds of competition: the preliminaries, quarterfinals and semifinals. The top 10-to-12 spellers will take part in the in-person finals on July 8 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.

“The Scripps National Spelling Bee is back, and with it, the tradition of watching a tremendous group of spellers take on the dictionary,” Dr. J. Michael Durnil, executive director of the Bee, said in a statement.

“We look forward to celebrating our 209 national finalists and all they’ve accomplished over the last year. To our audiences watching at home: tune in – on your mobile devices, laptops or televisions – and help us cheer on these truly exceptional young scholars,” Durnil added.

Presumably to avoid an eight-way tie as happened in 2019, the Bee announced that there is a new addition of word meaning rounds—a new opportunity for spellers to show off their word mastery from the microphone—and the potential for a final spell-off.

In the end, the champion kid – between the ages of 9 and 15 – will go home with a $50,000 cash prize.

A full listing of the spellers – including the 70-plus Indian Americans and 47 returning finalists – as well as the schedule for the events can be found by visiting www.spellingbee.com.

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