The 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee is taking place this week in Washington, DC.
Each year, more than 11 million students start their journey to the national stage in classrooms across the US. This year, there are 562 spellers who made it to the national stage.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s competition:
Who are the spellers?
The contestants are all 15 or younger and have not passed beyond the eighth grade. There are contestants from all 50 states, several territories and other countries including the Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea. A majority of the spellers attend public schools. There are nine sets of siblings competing together, two of which are sets of twins.
Who should you pay attention to?
There are 162 returning spellers this year. Two of those spellers – Rebekah Zeigler and Naysa Modi – are making their fifth appearance in the Bee. Modi was last year’s runner up, and was knocked out of the Bee by failing to spell the word “Bewusstseinslage.” This year, she’s back for one last crack at becoming the Spelling Bee champion.
Keep an eye on spellers from Texas, as the state has the most representatives in the Bee with 69 spellers.
What do the winners get?
The third place winner of the Bee receives a medal and $15,000. The runner up wins a medal and $25,000. The winner of the Bee gets a $50,000 cash prize and Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy and a $2,500 cash prize and reference library from Merriam-Webster.
It doesn’t stop there. They also get $400 of reference works from Encyclopædia Britannica, including a 1768 Encyclopædia Britannica Replica Set and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium.
In addition to all the cash and prizes, the spelling champion makes the rounds on talk shows. The champion wins a trip to New York City to appear on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and another to Hollywood to appear on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”