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Chandra Advances to National Spelling Bee

Baylor seventh grader Alisha Chandra was the winner at the Regional level of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Friday and will be competing in the national bee, May 24 - 29, at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Exact competition days will be available at beginning May 1.

The National Spelling Bee was formed in 1925 as a consolidation of numerous local spelling bees, organized by The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. The E.W. Scripps Company acquired the rights to the program in 1941.

Chandra qualified for the bee by winning the Baylor competition on Jan. 26 and the Zone level bee on Feb. 11. Other Baylor qualifiers for the Zone bee were seventh grader Julia Gardner and sixth grader William Hubbard, second and third respectively at the Baylor bee.

The winner of the national bee gets a $50,000 cash prize, the Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy, and a $2,500 cash prize and reference library from Merriam-Webster. 

Chandra is also a semifinalist in the 2020 National Geographic GeoBee state competition. This year, an estimated 2.4 million students, grades 4-8, competed in the GeoBee, with 8,661 students, including Chandra, becoming school champions. School champions also took an online qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. Up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and U.S. territories were invited to compete in the State GeoBees.

State champions will receive a medal, $1,000 in cash, and other prizes, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the national championship where they will compete for additional cash, awards and college scholarships. The second- and third-place state GeoBee winners will receive cash awards of $300 and $100, respectively. 

The 2020 national championship will take place May 18-21, 2020, at National Geographic headquarters. The national champion will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll. The second-place finisher will receive a $10,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash; the student finishing in third place will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash, and seven runners-up will each receive $1,000 in cash. Visit for more information on the National Geographic GeoBee.


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