70th Scripps National Spelling Bee

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70th Scripps National Spelling Bee
DateMay 28–29, 1997
LocationGrand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C.
WinnerRebecca Sealfon
ResidenceBrooklyn, New York
SponsorNew York Daily News
Sponsor locationNew York City
Winning wordeuonym
No. of contestants245[1]
PronouncerAlex Cameron
Preceded by69th Scripps National Spelling Bee
Followed by71st Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 70th Scripps National Spelling Bee was held in Washington, D.C. on May 28–29, 1997, sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Company.

Thirteen-year-old Rebecca Sealfon, from Brooklyn, New York won the competition in the 22nd round by correctly spelling the word "euonym".[2] Sealfon's exclamation while spelling her final, winning word has been called one of the most notable moments from National Spelling Bee history, a "made for YouTube" moment.[3][4] Sealfon was the first home-schooled student to win the Bee.[5]

Second-place went to 11-year old Prem Murthy Trivedi of Howell, New Jersey, who misspelled "cortile," and third to 13-year old Sudheer Potru of Beverly Hills, Michigan, who was unable to spell "pachymeter" in the 14th round.[6][1] Sealfon had a chance to win in the 17th round, but missed "dulcinea", causing the final two spellers to continue spelling.[7]

The first place prize was $5000 (as it had been since 1990), with $4000 for second place and $2500 for third.[1]

There were 245 spellers this year, age 9 (three spellers) to age 15. 17 were home-schooled, and about one-fourth attended private or parochial school. Six spellers were making a third appearance at a national bee, and 42 were second-time participants.[8] 116 survived into the second and final day of competition.[9][10][11]


  1. ^ a b c (30 May 1997). Home schooled 13-year old triumphs, Boca Raton News (Associated Press)
  2. ^ (30 May 2013). Famed champ Rebecca Sealfon turns her back on spelling bee, New York Post
  3. ^ Samtani, Hiten (23 May 2012). A spelling champ whose e-u-o-n-y-m should have been 'joy', WNYC-FM
  4. ^ Donald, Brooke (16 March 2005). Buzz surrounding spelling bees grows, Lawrence Journal-World (Associated Press)
  5. ^ (2 June 2000). H-O-M-E schooling spells a winner, The Washington Times
  6. ^ Riechmann, Deb (30 May 1997). 'Spelling is boring' but victory sweet, Free Lance-Star (Associated Press)
  7. ^ (29 May 1997). UPI Focus: Sealfon wins National Spelling Bee, UPI
  8. ^ King, Tim (26 May 1997). Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee Returns to Nation's Capital, Scripps.com (press release)
  9. ^ Greene, Robert (29 May 1997). Contestants dwindling as spelling bee heads into final day, Associated Press
  10. ^ (29 May 1997). Contestants eliminated from the National Spelling Bee, Associated Press (list of eliminated spellers and words missed,day one)
  11. ^ Greene, Robert (28 May 1997). Spelling bee draws 245 contestants, Associated Press

External links[edit]