With The National Bee Canceled, These Spelling Whizzes Are Holding Their Own Competition

Shobha and Shourav Dasari want their bee to fill the gap for eighth-graders who won’t be eligible to compete next year.

By Alexandra HartMay 13, 2020 1:40 pm, , ,

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.

Courtesy Shobha Dasari

Shourav and Shobha Dasari at the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee in 2017.

She said some top spellers spend four or five years preparing to qualify for the national bee.

Some of their friends from former bees will be judges in the SpellPundit competition, which is May 23 to May 28.

Web story by Caroline Covington.


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