Duke Regional Spelling Bee

Child stands at microphone with head down

About the Program

The Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs sponsors the regional qualifier for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Spellers from elementary and middle schools across Durham and Orange counties gather to compete for the regional title, DCA provides the champion and their family an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in National Bee Week to promote scholastic excellence and to encourage the love of letters, words, and language. The bee is always free and open to the public, and members of the community are encouraged to cheer on the competitors.

Winners of the Duke Regional Spelling Bee receive:

  • The Samuel Louis Sugarman Award
  • A free one-year subscription to Britannica Online Premium Edition from Encyclopedia Britannica
  • A free one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online Edition from Merriam-Webster, the official word source for the Scripps National Spelling Bee
  • Airfare, hotel, meals and local transportation for 6 nights for the winner and one parent to National Spelling Bee Week in Washington, DC, from The Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs.

Isaiah Henry

Congrats to Regional Spelling Bee 2023 Winner, Isaiah Henry

We are happy to announce that fifth-grade student Isaiah Henry, representing Grady Brown Elementary School, qualified for the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee after winning first place in the 2023 Duke Regional Spelling Bee. To win first place, and a bevy of prizes, Henry correctly spelled “vanda,” the name of a genus of orchids found in the Eastern Hemisphere. 

Frank Dumas

Congrats to Regional Spelling Bee 2022 Winner, Frank Dumas

We are happy to announce that Frank Dumas, a fourth grader at Bethesda Elementary School, was the 2022 Duke Regional Spelling Bee Champion. Frank competed against 37 other spellers on March 26, and he moved onward to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC.

Congratulations, Frank!

Watch a local news stories by CBS17 , WRAL and WTVD about Frank’s accomplishment.

For Schools

Enrollment for this year’s bee is now closed.

When you enroll your school at spellingbee.com and pay the $175 enrollment fee, you will receive exclusive online access to: 

  • Study lists with spellings and word meanings for grades 1-8, 
  • The 2022 Classroom Pronouncer Guide for administering classroom spelling bees, 
  • The 2022 School Pronouncer Guide for administering a school spelling bee, 
  • Access to the Bee’s Online Testing Platform for creating classroom- and school-level tests,  
  • Words of the Champions, the 4,000-word study resource for your school spelling bee champion, 
  • The Great Words, Great Works reading list with all source books for the School Spelling Bee Study List, organized by grade level, 
  • Supplemental word meaning materials for classroom and school levels, 
  • Award certificates for participants and your school champion, and 
  • Entrance for your school champion in Duke’s spelling bee program. 

Each year, the Bee reaches millions of students across the country with the classroom and school materials that it provides to schools enrolled in its yearlong program. By enrolling your school, you receive access to these materials, including study lists, competition guides and instructions for conducting a school spelling bee program in one of three ways: 

  • In person at a traditional spelling bee event 
  • Virtually through a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Google Meet 
  • Virtually via online tests using the Bee’s Online Testing Platform

No matter how your school chooses to determine a spelling bee champion, all school champions at enrolled schools in our area will compete in Duke’s spelling bee program. 

The Bee’s purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. In addition to the academic benefits, students also develop important life skills—like goal setting, time management and public speaking—that will help them as they advance in school and eventually to successful careers.  

For nearly a century, the Bee has inspired a love of learning in students, and we are proud to continue bringing this opportunity to your students and highlighting the importance of academic achievement in our community. 

Enroll your school today!

Together, we can provide students with the opportunity to compete in the nation’s longest-running educational competition.

The Bee Returns

Scripps National Spelling Bee

IS OUR NEXT CHAMPION IN YOUR CLASSROOM? Enroll your school in the spelling bee program for the 2021-2022 school year, and your school champion could compete for the Scripps Cup from the Washington, D.C., area.

Learn more