The Thrill and Agony of the National Spelling Bee

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We all enjoy watching the ecstatic contestants pump their little fists with victory at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, going on Thursday in Oxon Hill, Maryland. But we can't appreciate the fleeting moments of joy without enduring the long stretches of child torture. Here are some of the happiest and saddest kids spelling words we've still never heard of. 

Hannah Citsay offers a wry smile when she successfully wings it on "hesped."

Caleb Miller misses "cyanope."

But he leaves the stage with charm and honor.

Poor 13-year-old Sophia Limacher looks like she can barely fathom missing "morosoph." 

(Photo via Associated Press.)

Anuk Dayaprema is all business after spelling "dolabriform." The camera will not push him out of the zone.

(Photo via Reuters.)

Amber Born is all business as she figures out "malacophilous," an adjective that means a thing can be pollinated by snails.

She gets it!


Ryan Devanandan contemplates "aporia."

He got it.

(Photo via Associated Press.)

Eva Kitlen showed her nerves.

(Photo via Reuters.)

When Jonathan Caldwell misspelled "pergameneous," he was clearly disappointed in himself.

But he, too, took it in stride.

Christal Schermeister spells "gelastic."

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(Photo via Associated Press.)

Concerned dad before:

And after Joseph Delamerced nailed "aquiclude":

The charismatic Vismaya Kharkar gets "agelicism" after cleverly figuring out its root word.

Kuvam Shahane's mom can't watch as he spells "minnelied," which is a German word, so it sounds like it ends with a "t." That's mom with her head in her hands in her lap.

But he got it.

The stress looks like it tortures Kuvam's mom.

And here is Gokul Venkatachalam spelling "smellfungus."

Update: Your winning word is "knaidel" — as spelled by this kid.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.