When Sukanya Roy won the Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday, she beat the very best.
Spelling Bee Program Manager Corrie Loeffler said she has been working for the competition for 17 years, but this year’s class was the “the most impressive group of kids that I’ve ever seen.”
“They were incredibly well prepared; the words were incredibly difficult; they were all champions,” she said, jokingly adding, “of course your champion is the most impressive champion of all.”
Roy’s trip to the National Spelling Bee was sponsored by The Times Leader. She qualified for the competition by winning the 2011 Times Leader/Scripps Northeast Pennsylvania Regional Spelling Bee.
Loeffler said this year’s contest lasted longer than usual. The bee’s semi-final round lasted more than four hours, and its final round nearly three.
But the sportsmanship of the competitors was what really stood out.
“Not just how well they performed but how supportive they were of one another,” Loeffler said. “You saw them congratulating each other and high-fiving when they got a word. The spirit of friendship and just rooting for the people that you’re supposed to be competing against was really inspiring. Everyone in the room was just so blown away by these kids.”