With the national spelling bee canceled, eighth graders try for another chance.
By: Meghana Nakkanti
The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled for the year 2020 "due to the ongoing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus." The beloved event has been held every year except for the duration of World War 2. Scripps stated that the bee will still be held next year, June 1-3.
The cancellation is a major hit to the countless spellers across the nation who had spent thousands of hours studying, hoping to get their chance at the grand prize. While many spellers can still participate next year, current 8th graders are ineligible next year. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is only for grades K-8, but 8th graders would be 9th graders next year.
This led to former speller Sylvie Lamontagne to start a petition on change.org that has received thousands of signatures. The petition was designed to extend eligibility for eighth-graders for one year. She said that “spellers sacrifice everything for their dreams.” She says, “Having their last shot cut off in eighth grade… [is] unjust.”
Many people agree with Lamontagne. Sanjana Kota, a speller from Texas who is also an eighth-grader says that she “studied as hard as [she] could, sacrificing anything and everything.” But now, she is unable to participate at nationals now. Others feel the same way, saying that their hard work will be thrown away.
However, spellers remain optimistic. To them, spelling is more than just an educational endeavor, it’s a chance to follow their dreams.
The petition can be viewed here: change.org/spellingbee2020