MTSU is welcoming the 2013 regional finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday, March 20, putting as many as 60 of Middle Tennessee's young L-O-G-O-P-H-I-L-E-S on a P-O-D-I-U-M.
The winner of this regional bee, which begins at 9:30 a.m. March 20 in MTSU's Student Union Ballroom C, will travel to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.
The event, which is co-sponsored by the College of Mass Communication, the School of Journalism and The Tennessean, is free and open to the public. A campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTParkingMap12-13.
MTSU television production students also will be documenting the spelling bee for possible future broadcast on MT10-HD.
The 60-plus regional finalists have advanced from local and county-level spelling bees in 30 counties across Middle Tennessee. Students under 15 and in first through eighth grades in public, parochial, charter and home schools are eligible to participate in the spelling bee, which began in 1925.
“We are excited to have these outstanding young students, their families and teachers on our beautiful campus as they compete in our nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion,” said School of Journalism Director Dwight E. Brooks.
“The Scripps Spelling Bee represents a wonderful opportunity for students to display their spelling and vocabulary expertise in a competitive yet supportive setting.”
Mass communication faculty will serve as judges for the event, organizers said.
"We are really excited to host this event for the first time and think it will be a lot of fun," said Kelle Knight, executive aide to the dean of the college and coordinator of the regional bee. "We expect to have nearly 60 students participating, plus parents, teachers and their guests, so there could be several hundred people attending throughout the morning."
“These amazing students have earned their right to participate, and each one will shine on our stage,” Brooks added. “We also hope students and their families will take some time while on campus to explore our university and its great programs.”
The winner of the Middle Tennessee Regional Spelling Bee will travel to Washington, D.C., for the National Spelling Bee May 28-30.
Tennessee has seen seven national winners in the spelling bee in its 88-year history, including a three-year sweep in the mid-90s. The last spelling champion from Tennessee was Ned G. Andrews, the Knoxville News-Sentinel Bee winner who took the national crown in 1994 by correctly spelling "antediluvian."
Brooks said the School of Journalism’s sponsorship of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is a first in what he hopes becomes an MTSU tradition.
“Our partnership is supported by the MTSU Public Service Committee and is a true team effort involving students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators and faculty,” the director said.
The Nashville Banner sponsored the Middle Tennessee spelling bee from the 1930s until the newspaper closed in early 1998. The Tennessean took on the bee at that point, continuing until 2011. Nashville law firm Baker Donelson sponsored the 2012 regional spelling bee.
For more information about the National Spelling Bee, visit www.spellingbee.com.