Scripps National Spelling Bee returns to West Hartford

The Connecticut Spelling Bee 2019 Champion Janelle Newell.

WEST HARTFORD — More than 50 of the best Connecticut spellers in grades 4-8 will compete on Sunday, March 22, at the University of Saint Joseph for the chance to represent the state at the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee, according to a release from the organization.

The fourth annual Connecticut Spelling Bee is co-presented by The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society and the Hartford Courant. The competition begins at 1 p.m. on March 22 at the Hoffman Auditorium at the University of Saint Joseph, located at 1678 Asylum Ave., in West Hartford.

Students who have made it to The Connecticut Spelling Bee have already won their school- or town-wide spelling bees. In some cases, that means being the top speller out of as many as 900 students. A total of 11,000 Connecticut students in grades 4-8 participated in the spelling bee program this year. Out of that number, 52, the largest group of finalists ever, will move on to The Connecticut Spelling Bee.

The winner of The Connecticut Spelling Bee will represent the state at the 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 24-29 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Centre in Port Washington, Maryland. Last year’s Connecticut winner, seventh grader Janelle Newell from Multicultural Magnet School in Bridgeport, was one of the top 562 spellers in the nation. Scripps estimates that around 11 million students participate in the spelling program each year. In addition to an expense-paid trip to Scripps National Spelling Bee, the top Connecticut speller will also receive a $1,000 scholarship to the University of Saint Joseph.

In 2020, schools from all eight of Connecticut’s counties participated in the spelling bee program, including: Albert D. Griswold Middle School (Rocky Hill), Andover Elementary School (Andover), Bethel Middle School (Bethel), Bristow Middle School (West Hartford), Carmen Arace Intermediate and Middle Schools (Bloomfield), Carrigan 5/6 Intermediate School (West Haven), Chaplin Elementary School (Chaplin), East Lyme Middle School (Niantic), Fletcher W. Judson School (Watertown), Glenville School (Greenwich), Harry M. Bailey Middle School (West Haven), Helen Keller Middle School (Easton), High Horizons Magnet School (Bridgeport), Interdistrict Discovery Magnet School (Bridgeport), John F. Kennedy Intermediate Elementary (Windsor), Jumoke Academy Charter School (Hartford), King Philip Middle School (West Hartford), Litchfield Intermediate School (Litchfield), Mabelle B. Avery Middle School (Somers), Mary R. Fisher Elementary School (North Grosvenor), Midstate Christian Academy (Meriden), Multicultural Magnet School (Bridgeport), North Branford Intermediate School (North Branford), North Stonington Elementary School (North Stonington), Northwestern Regional Middle School (Winsted), Old Greenwich School (Old Greenwich), Old Saybrook Middle School (Old Saybrook), Park City Magnet School (Bridgeport), Pierrepont School (Westport), Prendergast School (Ansonia), Read School (Bridgeport), Redwoods Homeschool Community (Bristol), Renzulli Academy (Hartford), Scotts Ridge Middle School (Ridgefield), Sedgwick Middle School (West Hartford), Sherman Elementary and Middle Schools (Sherman), Somers Elementary School (Somers), Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy (Orange), St. Mary’s School (Simsbury), Stillmeadow School (Stamford), The Gilbert School (Winsted), The Independent Day School (Middlefield), The Montessori School (Wilton), Thomaston Center School (Thomaston), Thompson Middle School (North Grosvenordale), Vernon Center Middle School (Vernon), West Vine Street School (Pawcatuck), Westbrook Middle School (Westbrook), Western CT Academy Of International Studies (Danbury), and Westside Middle School Academy (Danbury).

The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee program is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. “Spelling bees offer students the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the language,” says Noah Webster House Executive Director Jennifer Matos. “Through this experience, we hope that students will discover that words really do matter. This knowledge will help them to become articulate and sentient citizens.” In addition, spellers develop life-long skills such as confidence, dedication, grit, and the resilience of the human spirit. Perhaps most inspiring, spelling bees have a way of creating communities who rally around each speller, cheering in their victories and sympathizing in their defeat.

The Bee will be held at the University of Saint Joseph’s Hoffman Auditorium, 1678 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. This event is free and open to the public (first come, first served). Doors open at 12:30 p.m. For more information about The Connecticut Spelling Bee, please call the museum at (860) 521-5362 or email

Please visit or call (860) 521-5362 for information on the museum’s extensive school and public programs.

Connecticut Media Group