Seventh Annual Duke Regional Spelling Bee Saturday, March 19

Free public event takes place in Baldwin Auditorium 

Returning champion Bettie Closs will return to defend her spelling bee title. Photo: Duke Photography
Returning champion Bettie Closs will return to defend her spelling bee title. Photo: Duke Photography

the seventh consecutive year, Duke University is sponsoring the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 19, in Baldwin Auditorium on Duke’s East Campus. 

The event features 59 spellers from Durham and Orange County Public Schools, local private and charter schools and homeschool associations competing for the honor of Regional Bee Champion. The winner will advance to compete in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

The bee begins at 9 a.m. and is free and open to the public. Free parking is available on East Campus.

This year’s bee includes two returning champions of the Duke Regional Bee. Bettie Closs will return to the Baldwin stage after winning both the 2014 and the 2015 bees. Closs is a seventh-grade student at Lucas Middle School in Durham Public Schools.

Joining Closs as a returning champion is Ned Swansey, who won the bee in 2012. Swansey is an eighth-grader at Brodgen Middle School in Durham Public Schools.

Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs has sponsored the regional bee since 2010.

"It is an honor to work alongside so many dedicated teachers, students and their families in our area schools,” said Lou Rollins, Duke’s liaison with Scripps. “Bee competitions are as exciting as any major sporting event -- just a different style of March Madness!"

Phail Wynn Jr., vice president of Duke’s Durham and Regional Affairs, will serve as the bee’s pronouncer. David Malone of Duke’s Program in Education and Sam Miglarese of Durham and Regional Affairs will serve as this year’s judges.