National Spelling Bee

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The National Spelling Bee was launched by the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal in 1925. With competitions, cash prizes, and a trip to the nation's capital, it was hoped the Bee would stimulate “general interest among pupils in a dull subject.“ The Scripps Howard News Service took over the Bee in 1941. Over the years the national finals have grown from a mere 9 contestants to this year's 285. In 2014, there were two winners of the bee—a conclusion that has only happened three other times in Bee history, and not since 1962. In 2015, this conclusion was repeated when Vanya Shivashankar, a 13-year-old from Olathe, Kansas and Gokul Venkatachalam, a 14-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri shared the spotlight as co-champions having correctly spelled "scherenschnitte" and "nunatak," respectively. Both winners were in their final year of eligibility. Here are the winning words that made past spellers into national champions.

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