Spelling Skill to Be Showcased at 52nd Annual Bee

UT Dallas Returns as Sponsor of Area Schools’ Annual War of the Words

Oct. 30, 2009

This winter, students will swarm to The University of Texas at Dallas campus to prove their spelling prowess in county-wide competitions. Then, the county champs will convene for a regional spelling showdown.

It’s all part of a decades-old process to establish a national spelling champion from North Texas, and UT Dallas is again playing a supporting role. The University is sponsoring the 52nd annual Dallas Morning News Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 20, in a competition to be broadcast on WFAA-TV (Channel 8).

For the second year, UT Dallas is the bee’s presenting sponsor. Whataburger and North Dallas Honey Company also are sponsors.

The Spelling Bee is open to students in fourth through eighth grade in public, private, parochial, home and charter schools in the 38-county Dallas region.  Schools decide whether to participate in the bee each fall. Twenty-nine students competed in the regional contest last year.

The winner of the regional bee will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in late spring.

Before North and East Texas’ most spectacular spellers meet at the regional bee, they’ll compete at county bees. As major sponsor of the regional spelling bee, the University also will host the two Dallas County contests; the private school competition will be held Tuesday, Feb. 9, and the public schools bee will be Tuesday, Feb. 16. Both events are to be held at the University’s School of Management Davidson Auditorium. The Dallas County bees have been sponsored by Dallas County Schools for more than 25 years.

The 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 sponsors.

The Louisville Courier-Journal started the event with nine contestants in 1925. In 1941, Scripps assumed sponsorship of the program. There was no Scripps National Spelling Bee during the World War II years of 1943, 1944 and 1945. Co-champions were declared in 1950, 1957 and 1962. Last year’s champion Kavya Shivashankar, of Olathe, Kan., successfully spelled “Laodicean” to win the national bee. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the adjective describes someone who is “lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics.”

Although bees have been in existence since a spinning bee was held in 1769, there is no widely agreed-upon explanation for why these contests are called bees. A popular theory is that the term “bee” refers to the congregation of humans which occurs much in the same way as the honey-making, stinging insects.

Media Contacts:  Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, 972-883-4329, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]

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52nd Spelling Beelogo


Adit Vidyashankar Lorenzo Johnson

Adit Vidyashankar (left) of the Newton Academy in Coppell won the Dallas County private schools bee in February. Lorenzo D. Johnson of W.H. Atwell Middle School in Dallas won the contest for public schools.

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April 25, 2018