71st Scripps National Spelling Bee

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71st Scripps National Spelling Bee
DateMay 27–28, 1998
LocationGrand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C.
WinnerJody-Anne Maxwell
ResidenceKingston, Jamaica
SponsorPhillips & Phillips Stationery Suppliers
Sponsor locationKingston, Jamaica
Winning wordchiaroscurist
No. of contestants249[1]
PronouncerAlex Cameron
Preceded by70th Scripps National Spelling Bee
Followed by72nd Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 71st Scripps National Spelling Bee was held in Washington, D.C. on May 27–28, 1998, sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Company.


Twelve-year-old Jody Anne Maxwell, from Kingston, Jamaica, where she attended Ardenne High School, won the competition by correctly spelling the word "chiaroscurist".[2] Maxwell was the second student from outside the United States to win, after Hugh Tosteson García of Puerto Rico in the 48th Scripps National Spelling Bee.[3][4] Second-place went to 12 year old Prem Murthy Trivedi of New Jersey, a four-time participant, who also finished second the prior year.[1] Third-place was taken by 13 year old Hirsh Sandesara of Northbrook, Illinois.[3]

There were 249 spellers this year. Eighty-six spellers survived day one of the competition.[5]

The first place prize was $10,000 (among other prizes),[1] representing a doubling of the $5,000 top prize in place since 1990.

Rule change after this year[edit]

Jamaica was disqualified from the Bee the next year under a new rule that qualifying bees could not occur before February 1. This occurred after complaints that Maxwell had had too much time to prepare, because Jamaica's qualifying bee was over eight months before the National Bee.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b c Miller, Anne (29 May 1998). With 'chiaroscurist', Jamaican wins national spelling bee Girl, 12, is first winner from outside the 50 states, Baltimore Sun
  2. ^ "Champions and Their Winning Words". Archived from the original on 2012-11-17. Retrieved 2015-03-16.
  3. ^ a b (28 May 1998). Jamaican girl crowned national spelling champ, CNN
  4. ^ Reinhard, Willa (18 August 1998). Spelling Star Minds Her P's and Q's, Christian Science Monitor
  5. ^ Handy, Stephen (28 May 1998). An obscure animal spells elimination, Deseret News
  6. ^ Reichmann, Deb (13 January 1999). Jamaicans stung by spelling bee, Spokesman-Review (Associated Press)
  7. ^ (28 May 1999). A Bee in Their Bonnet, The Wall Street Journal (about rule change)