Missouri school children are among the 281 entrants competing for the next three days in the National Spelling Bee. One is 13, one is 12, the others are ten. The first round today involves spelling on stage and off-stage spelling and vocabulary tests. The vocabulary test is worth half of the overall score to determine which students move to the semifinals.
The annual contest is sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Company, which has a long background in newspaper publishing. Each entrant is sponsored by a newspaper in their home areas.
Missouri’s entrants (and their numbers):
135 Faaris Khan, 12, Columbia
136 Evan Filer, 10, Harrisonville
137 Meah Wilburn, 12, Lee’s Summit
138 Jade Samanta, 12, Cape Girardeau
139 Joshua Sturgill, 12, Sedalia\
140 Ethan Talbot, 13, Lebanon
141 Sakif Islam, 12, Maryville
142 Gokul Venkatachalam, 12, St. Louis
Missouri has had three winners of the National Spelling Bee:
George Thampy, St. Louis, 2000
Michael Day, St. Louis, 1962 (the last time the Bee ended in a tie)
Sandra Sloss, St. Louis, 1955
This year’s winner receives a $30,000 cash prize from Scripps-Howard, a $2,500 savings bond, and $2,000 worth of reference works. Onstage spelling takes place this afternoon on ESPN3. The Semifinals are on ESPN2 tomorrow at 1 p.m. The finals are at 7 p.m. tomorrow on ESPN.