Share Your Story

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.

Share Your Story With Us

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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Sharing a Love of Language

Share Your Story - Jordan Hoffman

I competed three years in the National Spelling Bee and was a finalist in 2012. I just completed my first year at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The bee has enriched my life so greatly, through study skills, a love of language, and lifelong friendships. Recently, I was reminded of the legacy of the Bee and my responsibility to pass on the love of language to others. I began tutoring in an elementary literacy program through a Nashville YMCA. On my first day, I asked my student his bigges [...] Read More

From Speller to Linguistics Major

Share Your Story - Gabe DeFreitas

My time competing in the Scripps Bee program gave me a challenging (but fun!) goal toward which to work during my middle school years. The dedication and study methods that I developed for the Bee proved essential for later endeavors in high school, and even now, in college. My encounter with the study of etymologies also sparked my lasting interest in language, and ultimately led to my majoring in Linguistics. So the Bee truly can "bee" a life-changing experience!

On this the 90th year of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, I celebrate involvement in over half of these years (46, to be exact)! In a word, MIND-BOGGLING! My memories are measureless but, suffice it to say, it's been quite a SPELL!


Share Your Story - Kate Miller

I keep asking myself what it is about this competition that gives us this phenomenal synergy.  In part, it's automatic respect; we know exactly how hard we've all worked to get here. Yet it's so much more than this. The Bee Week Staff convinces us that we are *all* champions. The Bee teaches us to bee-lieve in ourselves, and also in each other. I will carry it with me always.

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

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

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


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!

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 on stage 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 ga [...] 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