The journey to Washington, D.C., and the Scripps National Spelling Bee begins each fall as thousands of schools enroll with the Bee. More than 11 million students participate in classroom and school spelling bees before advancing to local area bees coordinated by newspapers, community organizations, universities and other businesses. The winners of these local bees travel to National Harbor, Maryland, to take part in the National Finals.
Each of these spellers started the journey to D.C. in the classroom with a study list and a dream. It's a journey of competition, but also of discovery of the English language, support from family and friends, and camaraderie and good sportsmanship. To inspire your own dreams and jump-start your discoveries, here is a peek at what the 2019 National Finalists experienced at Bee Week!
Sunday, May 26
Excitement and anticipation filled the Gaylord National Resort as spellers and their families arrived at Bee Week and took part in Speller Check-In, an opportunity for spellers to pick up their materials and get to know the other national finalists. They received prizes from our sponsors, the exclusive speller t-shirt and the Bee Keeper — the autograph book that spellers use to collect signatures throughout the week.
Monday, May 27
On Monday morning, spellers took the Preliminaries Test, a multiple-choice test that contained both spelling words and vocabulary questions.
Think you have what it takes to be a national finalist speller?
Spellers and their families gathered in the Maryland Ballroom for the Opening Ceremony, where spellers met our Bee Week emcee, learned a bit about the Bee's long history and received instructions and advice from Bee officials.
Following the Opening Ceremony, everyone gathered together for the annual Bee Week barbecue. The evening was packed with great food, field games, dance-offs and arts and crafts.
Tuesday, May 28
Onstage Spelling: Round Two
The onstage competition began first thing on Tuesday morning as spellers took the stage for Round Two of the Preliminaries. Spellers who spelled correctly in this round advanced to Round Three.
After all spellers had the chance to compete onstage, Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster, gave a talk on the dictionary as data.
Wednesday, May 29
Onstage Spelling: Round Three
Spellers who had spelled correctly in Round Two had the chance to spell again for Round Three. Based on the combination of their Preliminaries Test scores and the points gained for spelling correctly onstage, 50 spellers qualified for the Finals. The energy in the ballroom was buzzing as ESPN's Paul Loeffler announced the names of the Finalists after Round Three.Watch the Best of the Preliminaries
The College Board Presentation
Following the Announcement of Finalists on Wednesday evening, Trevor Packer, head of the Advanced Placement program, gave spellers and their parents an overview of what they could expect in high school and answered questions.
Thursday, May 30
Onstage Spelling: Finals
On Thursday morning, the 50 Finalists battled against the dictionary for a spot in the primetime Finals. In the end, 16 spellers accomplished the buzzworthy feat of being named Top Finishers of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Onstage Spelling: Primetime Finals
On Thursday evening, 16 spellers took the stage to compete in the final rounds of the Bee, which were broadcast live in prime time on ESPN. After an unprecedented display of spelling prowess and grit, the Bee declared the final eight competitors champions.
The 2019 Octochamps are:
- Rishik Gandhasri
- Erin Howard
- Saketh Sundar
- Abhijay Kodali
- Shruthika Padhy
- Sohum Sukhatankar
- Christopher Serrao
- Rohan Raja
Friday, May 31
On the final evening of Bee Week, spellers and their families joined our officials and staff at the Awards Banquet to celebrate a great week of competition.
The final event of Bee Week is a longtime favorite for spellers! At the Farewell Party, spellers take to the dance floor, exchange contact information with new friends and pose for funny pictures in the photo booth. It's a great send-off for everyone involved in Bee Week.