ALEXANDRIA, VA — May 30, 2017 — Naples Middle High School 8th grader Ryan Rayos will represent the European PTA and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland May 31 to June 1. Rayos previously participated in the national spelling bee in 2015.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee, administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company, is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program according to its website. This year, the national spelling bee is celebrating 90 years of improving students’ spelling, vocabulary and English language usage. Since the first national spelling bee in 1925, the program has evolved into more than just a contest for children — it is a classic element of Americana.
Local spelling bee programs are administered by Bee-selected sponsors in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Schools in Europe. In Europe, the European PTA sponsors the event for DoDEA students. It is also administered in cooperation with local sponsors in six other countries: the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea. This year’s 291 spellers advanced through classroom, school and local spelling bees, making them the very best of the more than 11 million students who participated in the program this year.
Rayos won the 35th annual European PTA Spelling Bee in March 2107. Rayos is a student athlete, whose favorite sports are soccer and swimming, although he likes other sports as well. He is interested in math and science and would like to be an engineer because it combines his favorite subjects. Rayos says he enjoys reading, playing video games or listening to music in his free time. His favorite books and movie series are the Harry Potter series. He looks up to Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time.
The winner of the national spelling bee will receive a $40,000 cash prize and Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy. Merriam-Webster will give a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a complete reference library. Encyclopedia Britannica will provide $400 of reference works including a 1768 Encyclopedia Britannica Replica Set Deluxe Edition and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium. Also, the champion will receive a trip to New York City for the Champion to appear on Live with Kelly and Ryan, which airs weekday mornings in national syndication. Pending availability, a trip to Hollywood for the Champion to appear on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which airs weeknights.
A complete list of spellers can be found on the National Spelling Bee site. Rayos is speller number 229.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.