The 273 spellers range in age from 8 to 15 and represent Ghana, Jamaica, the Bahamas, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, China and Japan as well as the U.S. “English is not the first language of 21 spellers, and 102 spellers speak languages other than English,” reports AP.
The speller from China, 13-year-old Jacky Qiao, grabbed a firm hold of the microphone with his right hand and intensely spelled “recidivist” — then celebrated with a huge wave of both arms as he headed back to his seat.
Clark Hubbard, a 14-year-old from Franklin, Tenn., asked for a definition of “hippopotamus” — seemingly just for the fun of it.
. . . Darren Sackey made sure everyone knew he had come a long way to take part in the bee — he wore a bright yellow shirt with the word “GHANA” across the front. The 13-year-old from Accra, Ghana, used the tried and true method of tracing the word on the back of his placard before correctly spelling “camandante.”
As always, Throwing Things is blogging the bee. For live tweets from the ballroom, check out Joseph White, an AP sportswriter, and Dan Steinberg, a Washington Post sportswriter. (I love the fact that sportswriters are covering the event.)
Four protesters –some in full-length black and yellow bee costumes — called for simplified spelling. Their motto: “Enuf is enuf. Enough is too much.”