Coronavirus means no National Spelling Bee for first time since World War II

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Alice Liu

ST. LOUIS – In any other year, children from around the country would be gathering this week in the Washington, DC area to see who would emerge as the nation’s best “speller.” This is, of course, a year like no other, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee is not being contested this year.

The St. Louis region had 36 finalists ready to move on the path towards the National Bee. Among that group were 11 students in eighth grade who were in their final year of eligibility for the Spelling Bee.

That Includes Alice Liu, the Crestview Middle School student who would have been aiming for her fourth straight year as a national finalist. She finished in 12th, 34th, and 10th place over the past three years in the national event.

“Our hearts go out to these eighth-grade spellers, their families and all of us who won’t get to witness the last chapter of their spelling bee journeys,” national organizers said in a tribute to competitors in eighth grade. “We take solace in the knowledge that this mastery of the English language will be the foundation for the many achievements awaiting them in the future. These spellers will do great things, and we can’t wait to celebrate them along the way.”

A National Spelling Bee was not held between 1943 and 1945 because of World War II but has otherwise gone on as planned since 1925.

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