What Are Your Spelling Bee Memories?

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For at least a century, spelling bees have been arenas of childhood triumphs and tragedies. What do you remember?

Eight spellers shared the Scripps National Spelling Bee championship in 2019. Organizers later announced changes to the competition format that could help avoid similar ties in the future.
Credit...Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

June 18, 2021

Rhonchus. Welkin. Groupuscule. Motmot. Those are just a few of the words that have stumped some of the best spellers in the nation in this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, the tournament of verbal terrors that will air its final round live on July 8.

Spelling bees, whether at the highest level or in the smallest classroom, have always been an arena of childhood triumphs and tragedies. What’s your most vivid memory of a spelling bee? Were you surprised, like Charlie Brown, when a familiar word suddenly seemed unfamiliar under stress? Did you ever travel the spelling bee circuit, or did spelling stick to being a contest at home? Were you ever a spelling underdog, or a favorite that others were looking to beat? And do you remember the words that you conquered or that proved your undoing?

We want to hear your spelling bee memories, big or small, teary or joyful, ignominious, exhilarating or bittersweet. We may include a few in our coverage of the National Spelling Bee finals.

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