It’s time to brush up on the pronunciation, language of origin and definition of Merriam-Webster Unabridged dictionary words: Local students will face off at the Duke Regional Spelling Bee on March 11.
Sixty spellers from 59 elementary and middle schools in Durham and Orange counties will participate in the Duke Regional Spelling Bee. The event will be hosted at Riverside High School in Durham and is free and open to the public. The competition will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, when a champion will be named.
This is the eighth consecutive year that the Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs has organized and sponsored the regional qualifier of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“The spelling bee is such a wonderful way to connect with so many schools in our community,” said Lou Rollins, director of special projects for the Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs. “As a higher education institution, we are supporting literacy and word mastery skills that will take these students very far in their lifelong education journey.”
Rollins will serve as emcee of the Duke Regional Spelling Bee. Phail Wynn Jr., Duke’s vice president for Durham and Regional Affairs, will serve as pronouncer.
The reason for the odd number of regional spellers is that sisters Bettie Closs (the 2014-2016 Duke Regional Spelling Bee champion) and Hanna Closs participated in a lengthy spell-off at Lucas Middle School in Durham in January. The Closs sisters spelled every single championship word correctly, resulting in sharing the Spelling Bee champion title at their school.
The winner of the Duke Regional Spelling Bee and his or her family will be sent on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete during National Bee Week May 28 through June 3.