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Two Georgia Students to Compete in National Spelling Bee This Week

Computer testing at the national bee got under way today at National Harbor in Maryland. Look for live coverage this week on ESPN channels.

Charles Sirui Li, The Augusta Chronicle, a fifth-grader at Stevens Creek Elementary School in Martinez. Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee
Charles Sirui Li, The Augusta Chronicle, a fifth-grader at Stevens Creek Elementary School in Martinez. Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Knaidel, guetapens and cymotrichous are the winning words from the last three years of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

They may leave you asking for someone to use that in a sentence, but they’re part of the drill for the two Georgia students who will compete this week in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Georgia’s two super-spellers competing and their sponsors are: Charles Sirui Li, The Augusta Chronicle, a fifth-grader at Stevens Creek Elementary School in Martinez; and Sumedh S. Garimella, Georgia Association of Educators, an eighth-grader at Richard Hull Middle School in Duluth.

This year, 281 spellers will converge from eight countries: the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Competitors hail from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe.

The competition began Tuesday at National Harbor with computer testing for the would-be champs. Spellers will take to the stage for the first time on Wednesday. ESPN will broadcast the championship finals from 8 to 10 p.m. on Thursday.

For the 21st consecutive year, ESPN and its family of channels will provide coverage of the Bee with hosts Chris McKendry, Paul Loeffler and Kaylee Hartung. This includes a play-along version where viewers can test their spelling mettle along with the competitors. 

The schedule is:

·       Preliminaries on Wednesday, May 28, from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. EDT (watch live; play along). 

·       Preliminaries on Wednesday, May 28, from 1:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. EDT. ESPN3 will broadcast the announcement of semifinalists immediately following the conclusion of Round Three (watch live; play along). 

·       Semifinals on Thursday, May 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT. ESPN2 will broadcast the announcement of championship finalists immediately following the conclusion of Round Six (watch live; play along). 

·       Championship Finals broadcast live on ESPN on Thursday, May 29 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT (watch live; play along). 

Georgia has had two students win the whole shebang: in 1947 Mattie Lou Pollard of Atlanta was the champ, and in 1950, Colquitt Dean of Atlanta tied for the win.

Here's what the champion will take home this year:

·       From Scripps, a $30,000 cash prize and the Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy

·       From Merriam-Webster, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a complete reference library

·       From Encyclopædia Britannica, $1,200 of reference works including the Britannica Global Edition, 1768 Encyclopædia Britannica Replica Set Deluxe Edition, 3-year membership to Britannica Online Premium and Britannica World Atlas

The spelling bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company and local spelling bee sponsors in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe; also, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea. 

Octo Slash May 28, 2014 at 08:34 AM
These kids HAVE to be great spellers just to write down their names.
Donna May 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM
Good luck, guys!
David Brown May 28, 2014 at 11:34 AM
It does appear that Asian-American and Indian-American students invariably do well in academic contests. It is cultural. They expect their children to excel. The same cannot apparently be said of some other cultures. Just my opinion.
Lone Stranger May 28, 2014 at 03:27 PM
Well it seems that lazy white loafer kids whose idiot parents have spoiled them and black hip hoppers have all failed to make the grade. Take a good look at these kids. They will be your bosses in about 10 years.

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