National Spelling Bee Begins

06.02.10 |

The Scripps National Spelling Bee begins in Washington, DC today. More than 270 young people are competing for some 40-thousand dollars in prizes and the honor of being named this year's top speller. The contestants range in age from eight to 15-years-old, with the youngest being Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas. The soon-to-be fourth-grader is the sister of last year's Spelling Bee champ, Kavya Shivashankar. She won the competition by spelling the word laodicean [[ lay-odd-uh-SEE-an ]], which means lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics. The preliminary and semifinal rounds of this year's competition will be broadcast on ESPN Thursday at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time and Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern. The finals will air Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern on ABC.