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The spelling bee: an experience we all share

The spelling bee is a memory that we remember vividly: anxiously awaiting what word we would be given, carefully spelling each letter, the thrill of victory when we advanced, or the anguish of defeat when we were knocked out.

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Whether you competed in a classroom, on stage, or simply just cheered spellers on, we want to hear your story. Tell us about your most memorable experience as a speller, or a fan, and see your story featured here or on social media.

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Akeelah and the Bee

Bernadette Miao

My dream began with an impromptu classroom spelling bee, but it grew with the help of a movie. This movie was Akeelah and the Bee. While this movie is a fictional docudrama, it inspired me to have a goal in my spelling bee journey and to believe that anything is possible. After watching this movie, I believed in my dream of making it to the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Akeelah and the Bee helped my dream come true. Since the end of my days as a speller, I have continued to foster my love of all things spelling. I [...] Read More

Spelling Bee Memories

I got the opportunity to compete in the 74th National Spelling Bee. It was one of the best experiences of my life. My favorite night was by far the Ice Cream Social. I have never eaten so much ice cream in my life. The memory that I cherish the most were the other spellers. We were all from different walks of life but had one thing in common: We all worked hard to get where we were. I made some awesome friends that I was able to continue a few years after the spelling bee. I am glad that the Bee is still held each year. I [...] Read More

Spelling Bees - A Passion Shared With My Daughter

Daniella Golik celebrates winning her school spelling bee with her mom, Dawn

37 years ago as a nervous eighth grader, I competed in the San Diego County Spelling Bee. I can clearly remember the excitement of that day, how nervous I was, and the exhilaration of spelling words correctly. While I didn't win, I fell in love with spelling bees. They are a passion that I'm thrilled to share with my oldest daughter, Daniella. She has competed in and won several local and District spelling bees, and placed sixth in last year's Fresno County competition. The hours we spend with each other practicing, learni [...] Read More

The D.C. Bee Gave Me The D.C. Bug

I credit the National Spelling Bee for having a profound impact on the direction my life has taken over the last 17 years. I was a speller in the 2000 National Spelling Bee--Speller #73, sponsored by the Zionsville (IN) Times-Sentinel. I was the youngest speller in the Bee that year at 9 years old (which is nearing ancient compared to this year's youngest speller!). My opportunity to participate in the Bee coincided with some of my most formative developmental years, times in which I really started to understand that the wo [...] Read More

Discovering my love of linguistics

Since forever, I have always loved words. I began reading at an advanced level in Kindergarten, and was entered into my first spelling bee in middle school. I did not place in that district-wide bee, but the experience and sense of accomplishment for being on such an esteemed platform motivated me to excel in all things Language Arts. Years later, as a high school freshman student of the Upward Bound program, I was dared by my classmates to participate in the on-campus vocabulary challenge. This challenge was not exclusi [...] Read More

The Dream


Ever since I was five years old, I have watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The spelling bee appealed to me because it showcased one's academic talents on a national stage. During my time in elementary school I always wondered, "That could be me competing onstage and having the time of my life in Washington, D.C., but what does it take to live my own dream?" In 2011, my brother, Mark, qualified for Nationals and it was on the car ride back from the regional bee that I realized that this could be me one day. Mark gave [...] Read More


I competed at my school spelling bee in El Paso and won for my first spelling bee. I'm 11 and made it to the regional spelling bee. I was stumped on the 1st round with the word isobar and was eliminated. But I still have 3 years to compete so watch out D.C. I'm gonna make it to you one way or ANOTHER!

Greek and Latin in the ER

Aishwarya Pastapur preparing to spell a word at the microphone during the National Spelling Bee

"The patient has had a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy." I ponder the various Greek roots in my head. "Salpinx" means Fallopian tubes, “oophor” means ovary, and "ectomy" means removal. Without even googling this word, I know that this person has had both sets of Fallopian tubes and ovaries removed. As an emergency department scribe, I encounter many words derived from Greek and Latin roots, and I expect to see more as I enter a career in medicine. This is just one small example of how much the spelling bee has impact [...] Read More

A Confidence Boost from the Bee

In 1982, I was the spelling champion of Saginaw County, Michigan. Participating in the National Spelling Bee provided me with an invaluable early lesson in how to study a large amount of complex material in a short amount of time and, just as importantly, it taught me that hard work and focused attention can indeed pay off. I was always the type of kid who did much better at contests and standardized tests than I did in school, and being able to participate in the National Spelling Bee gave me a boost of confidence at a [...] Read More

My Spelling Bee World

Alia Abiad preparing to spell a word at the microphone during the National Spelling Bee

Every minute of the spelling bee taught me something new: how to stay calm under pressure, how to make friends instead of rivals, how to accept success and defeat, how much the support of my friends and family means, how people can be talented and gracious and dedicated all at once. It left me with one question, though - how do I deal with the loss of my spelling bee world?

Now, with a little more distance between me and the end of the competition, I think I know the answer: I don't have to deal with losing thi [...] Read More