On Tuesday May 24th, eleven spellers faced off in the Stride National Spelling Bee final competition for a shot at the coveted title.
Herndon, VA— “Your word is linsey woolsie.”
The tension in the room was palpable as eleven finalists waited for their chance to shine at the Stride National Spelling Bee. Ranging from grades 3-12 and representing schools across the US, the spellers and their families were at the edge of their seats waiting for the competition to begin. The event, held at Stride’s headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, was about to be livestreamed on Facebook for the many friends, families, and teachers watching back home.
Students have been competing for a spot in the final since Stride’s series of school-based, state, and regional spelling competitions, which began in January. Unique to the Stride Spelling Bee, all early rounds took place as live virtual events open to any student who chooses to compete, regardless of their location or where they attend school. The national final is the only in-person session throughout the competition.
Tuesday’s event began with words of encouragement from Stride CEO, James Rhyu:
“One thing I want every finalist to know is that all of you are winners for making it to this stage. You’ve worked hard to get here, and your families and the Stride team are proud of each one of you.”
The stakes were high for Spelling Bee winners. First place winners received a $2500 Amazon gift card and a gaming laptop, second place winners received a $1000 Amazon gift card, third place winners received a $500 Amazon gift card, and fourth place winners received a $250 Amazon gift card.
This is a lot of pressure for students! The elementary school finalists were understandably nervous, but the Bee’s official pronouncer, Student Resource Coordinator Le’Nita Gilliam, helped calm their nerves with guided breathing exercises before the competition began.
The four elementary finalists, Myla D. (HVAM), Alena S. (ALDCA), Vamsi M. (DAOF), and Ilyannie G. (WAVA), all proved there was nothing to be nervous about! In a show-stopping 16 rounds, Myla came in fourth place, Alena came in third, Vamsi came in second, and, as a first place winner for the second year in a row, Ilyannie won it all with the word, “canola.”
The three middle school finalists, Bismah A., Nathaniel H. (VAVA), and Ciara W. (NVVA), went through notably more intense rounds. The middle schoolers spelled words that made even the adults in the room scratch their heads—with words like “conurbation,” “albion,” and “Wiesbaden.” After 15 rounds, Ciara W. received third place, Bismah A. received second place, and Nathaniel H. received first with the word “justaucorps.” This was Nathaniel’s second year taking home the Middle School title.
Finally, the high schoolers were called for the last round of the Spelling Bee. Finalists Angel C. (CASC), Lily W. (IDVA), and Kade H. (ARVA) had been patiently waiting for their turn all morning—practicing in the room next door.
Their studying paid off. “Linsey woolsie,” “cuspids,” and “quasimodo,” were just a few of the many complex words that the high schoolers spelled, in a challenging 17-round final.
With the word, “colby,” Lily W. won first place—with Angel C. winning second, and Kade H. winning third.
The Stride Spelling Bee is just one way Stride is creating engaging extracurricular opportunities and experiences for students. Along with the National Spelling Bee, Stride hosts national clubs, competitions, and other enrichment programs designed to offer learners nationwide educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Congratulations to all Spelling Bee participants! Stride is proud to honor all winners and looks forward to more spelling in the future.
To learn more about Stride, visit https://www.stridelearning.com/