Maitri Kovuru, an eighth-grader at Fort Worth ISD’s McLean Middle School, is one of 50 finalists competing for the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee championship trophy Thursday, May 30 in National Harbor, Maryland, just south of Washington, D.C.
Part 1 of finals get underway at 9 a.m. Thursday and will air on ESPN 2. Part 2 begins at 7:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on ESPN.
The bee selects 50 spellers to advance to finals based on their scores on a preliminary written test and spelling words correctly in preliminary Rounds 2 and 3.
A total of 562 spellers are competing in the 92nd annual national bee, according to the Scripps National Spelling Bee website. Maitri is one of 69 spellers in the competition from Texas, which has the most representatives in this year’s contest.
Maitri advanced the national spelling bee after winning a 63-round regional bee that lasted six hours and was decided by a 25-word written test. The March 7 bee, hosted at Texas Christian University, went on so long that judges ran out of words and had to consult Scripps National Spelling Bee representatives on how to proceed. Five hours after the bee’s start, the decision was made to administer a 25-word written exam as the tiebreaker for Maitri and the 2018 reigning region champion, Hephzibah Sujoe, a seventh-grader at Bethesda Christian School.
Maitri is the first FWISD student in recent history to advance to the national bee, and she’s in good company.
In 1973, Barrie Trinkle, another student from McLean, advanced to the national spelling bee and won, according to the FWISD’s Billy W. Sills Center for Archives.