Scott: For hundreds of students each year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee can be the epitome of s-t-r-e-s-s.
Competitor: May I have an easier word?
Scott: And now a huge change is coming to the 86-year-old competition. A vocabulary test has been added that will surely kick the challenge up a notch. For each word, competitors will not only be asked to spell it, but now give the definition.
Paige Kimble: Spelling accounts for 50% of your score and vocabulary accounts for the other 50% of your score.
Scott: The competitors heading into the national spelling bee will have to cram for the vocabulary portion.
Arvind Mahankali: It does bother me a little.
Scott: Four-time finalist Arvind Mahankali and his parents found out about the new rule through email just a few weeks before the competition.
Srinivas Mahankali: I’m nervous because it’s a new thing. I would have preferred that Arvind has more time.
Scott: Arvind has finished third in the nationals for the past two years, and already spends as much as three hours a day studying for the spelling bee.
Kimble: Every time you learn a word, you learn it by looking up the meaning, making sure you know the meaning.
Scott: And now, he is rethinking his strategy.
Arvind: I would like to be first place, but the most important thing is just trying my best.
Announcer: We have a champion at the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee!
- How do you think the rule changes could affect the outcome?
- Do you think including definitions, as well as spellings, is fair? Why or why not?