Covid-19 dashed my National Spelling Bee dream, but there’s still time to make it right

The National Spelling Bee was understandably canceled. But if the organizers don’t change course, the eighth-graders who spent hundreds of hours in training will be out of luck

Ding. When the bell rang after I misspelled tettigoniid, I was heartbroken. After 15 grueling rounds of spelling, broadcast nationally in prime time, one letter vanquished me. The eight remaining contestants were crowned co-champions. I was declared runner-up. My mom asked if I wanted to train another full year until the next bee. I said yes. I wanted to try one last time. Now, my resolve to win has been replaced by profound disappointment.

Covid-19 has changed everyone’s lives. Health concerns and tragedies are headlines. Kids attend school remotely. Until recently, I was, like other eighth-grade spellers, at home studying constantly, preparing for my final chance at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Scripps ended that dream when it cancelled 2020’s Bee and denied eighth-graders an extension of eligibility.

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