70 Indian American kids among 234 spellers at 2022 Spelling Bee

Eight Indian American kids were among 11 finalists in the 2021 contest which ended their 12-year reign

About 70 Indian American kids are among 234 spellers joining the national rounds of the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition, at National Harbor, Maryland, from May 31-June 2.

After winning America’s largest and longest-running educational program for 12 straight years, Indian-American kids made way for 14-year-old Zaila Avant-garde, the first-ever African-American champion, last year.

For the first fully in-person Bee since 2019, the competitors advanced through local and regional bees that took place through April. The preliminaries are May 31, the quarterfinals and semifinals June 1 and the finals on June 2, according to a Bee press release.

Read: 70 Indian American kids in Scripps National Spelling Bee finals (May 25, 2021)

The semifinals and finals will be televised on ION and Bounce and hosted by accomplished actor, director, educator and lifelong children’s literacy advocate LeVar Burton.

Highlights of the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee field:

Four countries are represented in addition to the US: the Bahamas, Canada, Germany and Ghana. There are also spellers from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.

The national qualifiers range in age from 7 to 15.

45 have previously competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

23 have relatives who are former national competitors.

Four were finalists in 2021, including three who tied for fourth place.

The champion will receive a $50,000 cash prize.

Find more information on the field of 2022 national competitors at spellingbee.com.

The 2022 competition marks a return to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside of Washington, DC. The Bee was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and was held in a mostly virtual format in 2021.

The 2021 finals, which featured 11 spellers, were held in-person at ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando in order to facilitate pandemic-related safety protocols.

“The 2022 national competitors represent a diverse group of dedicated, hardworking and perseverant students,” said Dr. J. Michael Durnil, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“As they prepare for their moment at the microphone, the Bee is working to make the whole week an unforgettable experience for them – both on and offstage.

“This year, our spellers will participate in brand-new Bee Week opportunities that ignite their curiosity and help them connect with the world around them – central pieces of the Bee’s commitment to illuminate pathways to lifelong learning. We hope to make it a once-in-a-lifetime moment for every student who attends.”

Spellers will have the chance to participate in experiences ranging from activities that inspire fun and relaxation outside of the competition to workshops focused on STEM and the arts.

The week will include a group mural-painting opportunity, Minecraft coding academy, coding virtual reality camp, creative writing workshop, DC-area tours and a book-based team challenge in partnership with the Scripps Howard Foundation.

For the first time in Bee history, the competition will air exclusively on ION and Bounce, which are part of Scripps’ portfolio of free, over-the-air national networks.

Read: The Extraordinary Success of Indian Americans at the Spelling Bee (July 12, 2022)

“With its new television home, the Bee will reach into more than 120 million households and we hope it will inspire new generations of students watching along,” said Durnil.

The semifinals are slated to begin at 4 pm and conclude at 8 pm. These will air, live-to-tape, on ION and Bounce from 8-10 pm ET on June 1.

The finals will air live in primetime on ION and Bounce from 8-10 p.m. ET on June 2.

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