The annual three-day competition in Washington, D.C., consists of preliminary, semifinal and championship sections where the 281 contestants ranging in ages 8 to 14 receive combined scores from computer-generated vocabulary and on-stage spelling tests. This year is the first time in the bee’s history that vocabulary tests contributed to the contestant’s overall scores.
Giri, an eighth-grader at Donoho Middle School and aspiring neurosurgeon, is no newcomer to spelling competitions. In February, she won the Calhoun County spelling bee for the third consecutive year. She advanced to the state spelling bee in Birmingham in March where her winning word “inaccurate” landed her a spot in the national bee. Birmingham’s Adventure Travel sponsored Giri during the national competition.
The championship finals will be held this evening — ESPN will begin coverage starting at 7 p.m. — and will result in one winner taking home a $30,000 cash prize that includes a U.S. savings bond and full reference library from Merriam-Webster and Encyclopedia-Britannica. For live bee updates and competition results, visit spellingbee.com or follow on Twitter at @ScrippsBee.