The 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee is canceled because of the pandemic. So two young spelling whizzes decided to hold their own online competition.
Brother and sister, Shourav and Shobha Dasari, are cofounders of SpellPundit, which is normally geared toward training spelling bee competitors. They had been thinking about expanding their business to include a national bee, and that idea became a reality much more quickly than planned, because of the pandemic.
“It was just the cancellation of the national spelling bee that kind of made us want to do it even more,” Shourav said.
More than that, though, is the fact that the Scripps National Spelling Bee said eighth-graders in their last year of eligibility this year wouldn’t be eligible to compete next year even though this year’s bee was canceled.
“I can imagine how heartbreaking that that could be for a speller,” Shobha said.