Online or socially-distanced in-person Scripps Nat. Spelling Bee for 8th graders

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Earlier this morning, Scripps National Spelling Bee was cancelled for the year of 2020. While we understand this decision stems from a concern for our safety due to COVID-19, it is very disappointing to contestants; especially the eighth graders. This year is our last chance to participate in a competition that we have spent months, even years, preparing for and we would cherish any chance to hold a competition this year.

We truly appreciate Scripps prioritizing our health and safety. However, we would request the organizers to  consider the following options for the 8th grade regional winners and former national finalists(top 50) who are currently in 8th grade.

  • If travel and gathering restrictions are lifted, this could take the form of an in-person bee later this summer maintaining social distancing.
  • If an in-person bee is not possible, explore the option of conducting an online, invitational spelling bee for the eligible 8th graders.

Nothing can replace the feeling of being in Washington DC, with spellers from across the country, on the big stage. However, an online bee gives us the chance to live out our dreams one last time. 

The spelling bee isn’t just a large educational competition for us. It has taught us perseverance, discipline, and diligence. We used this opportunity to create friendships, and memories that will last a lifetime. Many of us gave up pursuing other passions so we could succeed at Scripps. We just want a chance to make the most of our last year eligible. 

By adopting any of the above options, we would have a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream and something we have prepared for several years.  We humbly request  the organizers to consider this as an alternative to cancellation. 

Please sign the following petition if you believe that Scripps should give us eighth grade spellers one last chance to live out our dreams.


Navneeth Murali, Simone Kaplan, Cameron Keith,Alice Liu, Nidhi Achanta, Nidhi Vadlamudi, Megan Lynch