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8 Colorado students aim to take top prize at 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee this week

Posted at 10:49 AM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 12:49:52-04

DENVER – Eight Colorado students are vying for the title of the world’s top speller this week at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

The first preliminary round got underway Tuesday morning as a field of 519 students started to get whittled down to the final 50, with another preliminary round scheduled for Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s finals.

There are eight Colorado students participating in this year’s spelling bee:

  • Angelina Holm, age 11, grade 6 at Denver School of the Arts, Denver
  • Jacob Faulk, age 14, grade 8 at Slavens K-8 School, Denver
  • Cameron Keith, age 12, grade 6 at Mackintosh Academy, Boulder
  • Gia Bao Pham, age 10, grade 5 at Birch Elementary School, Broomfield
  • Rohit Paradkar, age 13, grade 7 at Discovery Canyon Campus School, Colorado Springs
  • Lauren Guo, age 12, grade 7 at Wayne Carle Middle School, Arvada
  • Matthew Rodgers, age 13, grade 7 at Severance Middle School, Severance
  • Noah Prioste, age 11, grade 6 at Adams Elementary School, Westminster

Keith finished tied for 50th at the 2015 Bee, and finished tied for 18th in 2016. Several of the students will be coached by another Colorado spelling bee wunderkind, Sylvie Lamontagne, who finished fourth in the 2016 Bee.

This is the first year of RSVBee, an invitational program that allows some participants to pay to enter the Bee if they are qualified but were not one of the 278 local champions who qualified.

The Bee has seen seven champions from Colorado. There will be participants from all U.S. states and most U.S. territories and eight other countries in this year’s spelling bee.

The Bee will be streamed on ESPN, and the winner is eligible for a $40,000 cash prize and other prizes.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Company, which owns Denver7.