Insider’s Guide to the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee – Championship Finals

Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam were declared co-champions of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee!!

I watched in amazement as these two spellers exhausted a list of 25 extremely difficult championship level words! Gokul spelled the word nunatak for the win. Nunatak is a hill or mountain surrounded by glacial ice. On the road to the championship, Gokul also spelled filicite, Sprachgefuhl, nixtamal, and pipsissewa. Vanya’s winning word was scherenschnitte which is the art of decorative paper cutting. Along the way, Vanya also had to spell zimocca, tantieme, urgrund, and Bruxellosis.

It takes lots of hard work and dedication to just qualify for the National Spelling Bee so I’d like to say congratulations to every single speller who participated this year!

Insider’s Guide to the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee – Semifinals

The Semifinals were suspenseful and full of excitement! I got to sit in the front row with other spellers so I had a great view! Last night, all 49 semifinalists had to take another written spelling and vocabulary test (this was Round 4 of the competition). Rounds 5 and 6 occurred onstage this morning and lasted about 3 1/2 hours. After Round 5, 38 semifinalists remained. There were 21 semifinalists after Round 6. Some examples of words that flummoxed spellers were diamante, syrette, eupyrion, and calefy.

Up to twelve semifinalists with the highest overall aggregate scores from Rounds 1 – 6 can move on to the Championship Finals. This year, ten spellers will advance to the Championship Finals which will occur tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST, and will be broadcast on ESPN.

During the Championship Finals tonight, a speller from every state (or country) has the privilege of sitting onstage. I was chosen to represent Kentucky, so if you are watching, you might just see me on stage!