May 31, 2023 - News

Houstonians represent at Scripps National Spelling Bee

Photo of headshots of three kids.

From left to right: Luke Nguyen, Ishika Varipilli, Kirsten Tiffany Santos. Photos: Courtesy of Scripps National Spelling Bee

It's Bee week!

Driving the n-e-w-s: The Scripps National Spelling Bee returned this week, with quarterfinal and semifinal rounds set to start Wednesday in Maryland.

  • More than 200 contestants will compete in National Harbor, Maryland, for Scripps' 95th competition.

State of play: Spellers, who competed in local and regional rounds in early April, will compete live in a broadcasted competition over three days.

  • Last year the broadcast drew over 7.5 million viewers, the largest television audience since 2015.

Zoom in: The Houston area has three of Texas' 21 smarties in the competition.

  • Speller 198: Luke Nguyen, 12, attends Brookside Intermediate School. He loves math, video games, and playing the piano and trombone. He loves to solve dodecahedron-shaped Rubik's Cubes and watch "Wild Kratts" on television.
  • Speller 199: Ishika Varipilli, 12, goes to Creekside Park Junior High School and competed in last year's Bee, where she tied for 23rd place. She is trained in classical Indian song and dance and enjoys math, science and playing basketball. She hopes to pursue a career in pediatric medicine.
  • Speller 200: Kirsten Tiffany Santos, 12, competed in last year's Bee and tied for fifth place. She goes to International Leadership of Texas — Katy and was featured on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" in September. She enjoys learning new things and composing music on the piano.

How to watch: The Bee will air on ION and Bounce. Viewers can visit and enter a ZIP code for specific viewer instructions.


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