US First Lady Jill Biden will attend on July 8 the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals in Orlando in which nine of the 11 finalists are Indian-Americans, who have been dominating this prestigious and high-pressure endurance test for more than a decade now.
Over the past 20 years, Indian-Americans have been dominating the Spelling Bee contest even though they comprise only about 1 per cent of the US population.
“Immediately before the Bee’s primetime Finals, Dr Biden will meet with the spellers and their families, and will congratulate them on this tremendous academic achievement, the White House said on Tuesday.
Jill, a community college educator, previously attended the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals when it was held in Washington, DC.
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The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational programme, having been launched in 1925.
It is a high-profile, high-pressure endurance test as much as a nerd spelling match and spellers spend months preparing for it.
After advancing through all of the virtual rounds of the national competition, 11 spellers will compete for the championship title during the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals.
The final rounds of this year’s contest will be hosted in-person at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.
The 11 finalists are Roy Seligman, 12, from Nassau, The Bahamas; Bhavana Madini, 13, from New York; Sreethan Gajula, 14, from Charlotte, North Carolina; Ashrita Gandhari, 14, from Leesburg, Virginia; Avani Joshi, 13, from Illinois; Zaila Avant-garde, 14, from New Orleans; Vivinsha Veduru, 10, from Texas; Dhroov Bharatia, 12, from Dallas; Vihaan Sibal, 12, from Texas; Akshainie Kamma, 13, from Texas and Chaitra Thummala, 12, from San Francisco.
The Bee was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There were eight co-champions in 2019, seven of whom were Indian-Americans, bringing the total number of Indian-American champions since 1999 to 26.
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