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Countdown to Scripps Spelling Bee

Published:Thursday | April 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Sara-Beth McPherson

Thirteen-year-old Holy Childhood High student Sara-Beth McPherson will be among 284 spellers from around the world vying for the title of 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, when the competition kicks off on May 24 in the United States.

The on-stage rounds of the competition will take place on May 27 and 28 at the Maryland Ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

This year, the organisers will welcome spellers from 50 US states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

The spellers range in age from nine to 15 years old, but more than 80 per cent are between the ages of 12 and 14. This year's group of competitors is 51 per cent girls and 49 per cent boys.

Started in 1925, the Scripps National Spelling Bee (formerly the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee and commonly called the National Spelling Bee) is an annual spelling bee held in the US. Its 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 1998, Jamaica's Jody-Anne Maxwell took the title with the winning word 'chiaroscurist'.