NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Diya TV) — After seven rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, just 10 contestants remain to compete for the title of spelling champion during Thursday’s final round.
Of the 10 finalists, seven are Indian-American students from around the country.
Forty-five spellers entered the final rounds Thursday morning, down from the 284 — ranging from age 6 to 14 with 143 boys and 141 girls — contestants who began the competition on Tuesday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. The finalists that remain represent California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and Texas. Some students came from as far as Europe, Ghana, Guam, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For the first time in history, the spelling bee included a first-grader, 6-year-old Akash Vukoti of San Antonio, Texas.
The competitors kicked off the spelling bee with a written test on Tuesday, followed by two rounds of spelling on stage on Wednesday.
Erin Howard of Huntsville, Ala., was the first speller to begin and fall when Thursday’s competition resumed. The 11-year-old misspelled “Cheltenham” — Erin spelled it “Chelotnam.” Vasundara Govindarajan of Miami heard the error bell “reseau,” she mistook the “a” for the first “e.”
The winner of this year’s contest will take home a $40,000 grand prize in cash, a $10,000 increase from last year’s reward, along with a trophy and other prizes. The last two edition’s have featured co-champions — last year’s winners were Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, and Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield, Mo. The two battled through 20 tense, error-free rounds.