LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - This month, two students from Lufkin will be putting their spelling skills to the ultimate test. Both Aanvi Manda of Brandon Elementary and Alex Tiu of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School are competing in the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee where they will be the only two East Texans out of over 500 competitors.
Started in 1925, the spelling bee is bringing 565 students of various ages and backgrounds together to compete for a grand prize of $50,000. Manda says this is a difficult competition, with several levels that students have to pass.
“The written test is the preliminaries, and just because you spell your round two and three words correctly doesn’t mean that you’re going to the finals,” Manda said.
“They’ve given her a huge dictionary that probably weighs more than she does," said Sydney White, her teacher. “It’s a Webster’s dictionary, and any word in the dictionary can be used.”
Representing the city of Lufkin, Tiu and Manda are the only contestants from East Texas. While victory is the main goal, they both say the academic skills learned from practicing spelling are a prize of their own.
“I think overall, it’s just a wonderful experience in general," White said. "Kids really being incorporated into their education and studying really hard.”
The Scripps National Spelling will be held May 26th through 30th in Washington D.C.