CINCINNATI, May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The stage is set for the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee — where international attention will shine on young spellers vying for the coveted title of champion. The Bee will take place on May 28, 29 and 30 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. "The Scripps National Spelling Bee is not only a competition but also a cultural celebration of the English language," said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. "When you shine a light on something, it grows, and this event spotlights our mission to inspire children to improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives." The National Spelling Bee started in 1925 with nine contestants. The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) took ownership in 1941 and, after not holding the competition for three years during World War II, has managed the Bee continuously since 1946. 2013 marks the 70 th year that Scripps has operated the National Spelling Bee. In that span, the terms "Scripps" and "spelling bee" have become synonymous with one another. In this, the 86 th annual National Spelling Bee, the contestants are as exciting, diverse and complex as the words they will attempt to spell. In a competition where letters and words reign supreme, the numbers also are compelling. This year, 281 spellers will converge from eight countries: the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Competitors hail from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe. This includes 12 semifinalists returning from last year; Arvind Mahankali, the New York City eighth grader who is returning for the fourth time after placing third last year; Vanya Shivashankar, the Olathe, Kan., sixth grader and younger sister of the Bee's 2009 champion, Kavya Shivashankar; and Tara Singh, the eight-year-old from Louisville, Ky., who is this year's youngest competitor by more than two years. The competition began with more than 11 million students participating in classrooms, schools and locally-sponsored spelling bees. Only 281, or the top .00026 percent, will compete in the national championship. From those many millions, only one will rise to the top.
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