The Scripps National Spelling Bee returns this summer with 209 spellers – including 10 homeschoolers! – all vying for the championship trophy.
Across the country, partner schools and local bee sponsors have declared the winners of school, community, regional and statewide spelling bees making them eligible to advance to the national level.
Beginning June 12, these spellers will compete virtually in the first three rounds of competition: the Preliminaries, Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Then the top 10-12 spellers will gather in person for the Finals on July 8 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The finals will be broadcast live in primetime on ESPN2. With the addition of word meaning rounds—a new opportunity for spellers to show off their word mastery from the microphone—and the potential for a final Spell-off, it will be a bee to remember!
“Since its beginnings nearly 100 years ago, the Scripps National Spelling Bee and its spellers have inspired audiences across the globe with a compelling combination of academic excellence and engaging entertainment,” said Adam Symson, president and chief executive officer of The E.W. Scripps Company. “Now, as the world continues to adapt to an ongoing pandemic, Scripps is committed to reimagining the beloved competition in a way that safely allows our exceptional spellers to continue this iconic tradition on the national stage.”
The decision to limit the in-person portion of the competition to no more than 12 spellers was made in consideration of the health and safety of participants, their families, and everyone involved in the event’s production based on recommended social distancing and masking protocols.
Meet the Homeschooled Spellers
Speller No. 8
Emily Snider, 13, Grade 8
West Palm Beach, Florida
Parents Educating Children Homeschool
Emily enjoys writing short stories for her sisters to read. She also likes to study the French language and culture. Her favorite school subject is math. Some of her favorite activities are cooking, playing football and tennis, and anything involving cats. Emily has a cat named Tigger. Her favorite book is Warrior Cats (series), her favorite movie is MST3K Laserblast, and her favorite game is Sonic the Hedgehog. Emily previously competed in 2018 (tied for 323rd place).
Speller No. 9
Eliana Kut, 14, Grade 8
Christian Home Educators of Collier County
Eliana will always be found with a book in her hand, whether she is in the house, at the pool, on the trampoline, outside on a nature walk or at the beach. She is very artistic and musically inclined. She plays piano and harp, loves school and does competitive ballet. She also does art, speech, horseback riding, ceramics and enjoys swimming and tennis. She is eager to learn paddleboarding next. Her favorite book is Anne of Green Gables, her favorite food is Caesar Salad, and her favorite athlete is Misty Copeland.
Speller No. 25
Lindsay DeVore, 11, Grade 5
Lindsay is a fifth grade homeschool student. She is the third of three sisters who all qualified to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This was Lindsay’s first attempt at qualifying. Lindsay participates in Classical Conversations and is attempting to achieve her third Memory Master title by reciting 24 weeks of memory work across seven subjects including Latin, geography, history, math, science, English grammar and a timeline of 160 events. Lindsay enjoys practicing her violin and participating in ballet classes. Her favorite author is Frances Hodgson Burnett, her favorite sport is ballet, and her favorite TV show is Little House on the Prairie.
Speller No. 62
Logan Edwards, 10, Grade 5
Charlotte, North Carolina
Logan has talents in memorization, distance running and prolific reading. He enjoys history and technology (and demonstrates his expertise by integrating military maneuvers and numerous explosions into vocabulary exercises). He enjoys creatively playing cards with his siblings or developing exhaustive miniature societies in the wilderness of the backyard. He also works hard to entertain and take care of his younger sister. His favorite book is Warriors: Battles of the Clans, his favorite food is white chicken chili, and his favorite movie is Return of the Jedi.
Speller No. 116
Teagan Meachum, 14, Grade 8
Roots and Wings Christian Homeschool Cooperative
Teagan likes math, linguistics, heredity and music. She enjoys fantasy novels, and some of her favorite series are The Lord of the Rings and the Throne of Glass series. Her favorite books is The Guinevere Deception, her favorite movie is Hamilton, and her favorite game is Duolingo.
Speller No. 133
Zaila Avant-garde, 14, Grade 8
New Orleans, Louisiana
Clover Lane Homeschool
Zaila is an avid reader who demonstrated a strong interest in words from a very early age. Beyond her love for words and language, she enjoys learning new things, playing basketball, listening to music and podcasts, and hanging out with her family. Her favorite book is The Lord of the Rings, her favorite sport is basketball, and her favorite historical figures are Mae Jemison and Albert Einstein. Zaila previously competed in 2019 (tied for 370th place).
Speller No. 152
Cross Burgess, 14, Grade 8
Cross likes to fish, and he plays baseball and basketball. His favorite food is filet mignon, and his favorite TV show is VeggieTales.
Speller No. 168
Akash Vukoti, 11, Grade 6
San Angelo, Texas
Bentwood Home School
Akash loves languages and started competing in spelling bees when he was two years old. He became a member of American Mensa at the age of three! In 2016, Akash managed to win his regionals and competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the age of six. That same year, he was featured in his first TV show, NBC’s Little Big Shots. Since then he has been balancing between coming back to the Bee and appearing on TV. In fact, this is Akash’s fourth time competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee! Akash previously competed in 2016 (tied for 172nd place), 2018 (tied for 323rd place) and 2019 (tied for 51st place). His favorite food is pizza, his favorite athlete is Michael Phelps, and his favorite historical figure is Mahatma Gandhi.
Speller No. 188
Colman Mullins, 14, Grade 8
Colman has been homeschooled throughout his life. He lives in Alaska with his parents, two brothers and one dog. He has been playing the piano for eight years now. Colman enjoys playing the piano and video games. He also likes to read. His favorite book is The Silmarillion, his favorite movies are Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and his favorite game is Minecraft.
Speller No. 192
El Centro, California
Imperial Valley Home School Academy
Jaedillene was first enrolled at the Imperial Valley Home School Academy when she was entering fourth grade. She has already won five competitions in the course of her lifetime: a coloring contest, a writing competition and three spelling bees, including the Imperial Valley County Spelling Bee. She enjoys spending time with her family when she can, like watching TV or chatting with her siblings about interesting things they have seen during the day.
About the Scripps National Spelling Bee
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. Visit spellingbee.com for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company.