top of page
  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Abuzz with Excitement for the 2018 Duke University Regional Spelling Bee!

By Ginger Young, Executive Director



Those words will forever be seared into my brain, enshrouded in dark clouds of disappointment and shattered dreams.

First, there is something you need to know about me: sports in my world do not include hoops or pitcher’s mounds or endzones. Sports mean only one thing: spelling bees. The equipment is not balls or helmets but endless vocabulary lists featuring insane words like eudaemonic (the winning word in 1960) and marocain (the winning word in 2017). The sound is not a cheering crowd but a dreaded bell signaling a misspelling (triggering a surge of panic every time I hear it). The dream is not a world series or bowl game win but is outlasting all the thousands of other spellers to be crowned national spelling bee champ.

The only time I watch ESPN all year is in June, when the network airs the Scripps National Spelling Bee. And every year, the suspense has me on the edge of my seat.

I come by this fascination honestly. My memories of my fifth grade and sixth grade years in Atlanta are defined by my own spelling bee sagas, as I served as the speller from my school to the state of Georgia competition, with a lone winner headed to nationals. Fifth grade: one of six spellers remaining, I was taken down by levee (misspelled as levy, ugh). Sixth grade: I made it to the top three and, much to the delight of my competitors, spelled inundate as inandate. My dreams of championship glory ended that sad day.

So imagine my utter delight when I learned that I would be the Pronouncer for the 2018 Duke University Regional Spelling Bee this Saturday, March 17. Though I won’t show it to the 60 participating students (all champions already), I will be rooting each of them on as I pronounce words for them to spell, cheering silently every time that horrid bell does not ring.

Come out and join us!

Saturday, March 17, 9:00 am

Riverside High School

3218 Rose of Sharon Road


Finally: I can tell you for a fact that anyone who has competed in spelling bees can recall with utter clarity the word that brought them down. Email me at with your misspelled word!

1 view


bottom of page