Audrey Foote and Bruce Haiduk are two of the best young spellers in Oklahoma.
They showed that by winning state spelling bees to qualify for the 80th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee starting Wednesday in Washington.
Foote, an Edmond resident and eighth-grade homeschool student, won the Central Oklahoma Spelling Bee after correctly spelling "pecuniary.” Haiduk, an eighth-grader from Broken Arrow's Centennial Middle School, won the Eastern Oklahoma Spelling Bee after spelling "comestibles.”
They will be among 286 competitors, a National Bee record, at the two-day national event.
About the National Spelling Bee
The Louisville Courier-Journal started the national event in 1925, offering competition, cash prizes and a trip to Washington to stimulate "general interest among pupils in a dull subject,” according to Bee officials.
In 1941, the E.W. Scripps Co. assumed sponsorship.
Oklahoma's last win was in 1965, when Michael Kerpan Jr. correctly spelled "eczema.” Oklahoma's only other national champion was crowned in 1961, when John Capehart spelled "smaragdine.”
The event has evolved from nine contestants and features a nationally televised broadcast starting with the semifinals.