June 1, 2011
2011 Spelling Bee
Sukanya Roy, a fourteen year-old eighth grader from Pennsylvania, won the 84th 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee contest. She won by spelling the word "cymotrichous". In second place was twelve year-old Laura Newcombe from Toronto, Canada who went out when she misspelled "sorites."
This was Sukanya's third time to compete in the spelling bee. In 2009 she finished in 12th place and in 2010 she finished 20th. By winning the spelling bee she was awarded around $40,000 in prizes and cash. The event was televised nationally on ESPN and the final lasted around three hours.
Sukanya lives in Pennsylvania where she attends Abington Heights Middle School in the city of Newton Ransom. Her teachers must be so proud! She says she enjoys playing the piano and violin, hiking, ice skating, and rock climbing. She speaks Bengali and visits India each summer. With her win Sukanya becomes the fourth straight Indian-American winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
How the Spelling Bee Works
275 of the nation's best spellers come to Oxon Hill, Maryland near Washington D.C. to compete. The first round involves a test of 25 words. They get one point for each word they spell correctly. In rounds two and three they stand to spell words in front of judges. If they spell their work correctly in a round, they get 3 points. If a competitor spells all their words right in the first three rounds they will have 31 points (25 + 3 + 3). The top 50 point getters move on to the next round called the semifinals.
In the semifinals, if a speller misspells a word they are out. This continues through to the finals until only a single competitor and champion is left.
During each round, a speller may ask the judges the following questions about the word: