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Scripps National Spelling Bee: Ghana Makes Semifinals two Years Running

Ghana has been a part of the competition for seventeen years, with a speller representing the country until 2021 where their seat was increased to three.

Ghana’s N’Adom Darko-Asare scored a victory by completing the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee as a Semifinalist.

This marks Ghana’s second appearance in the semi-finals.

After exiting in the quarterfinals last year, N’Adom Darko-Asare takes a leap forward, securing a semifinal spot and bringing joy to the Ghanaian Community. Also, Giovanni Adjei and Abena Kwaffo finished as quarterfinalists in the same competition.

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According to N’Adom, getting familiar with the stage through experience makes it less scary.

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“You may be scared of standing on stage. Once you’ve been there before, it doesn’t really intimidate you as much,” N’Adom said

Ghana has been a part of the competition for seventeen years, with a speller representing the country until 2021 when their seat was increased to three. The 2023 team, was made up of Giovanni Adjei, N’Adom Darko-Asare, and Abena Kwaffo.

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Young Educators Foundation, a Ghanaian NGO which holds the Ghana franchise (The Spelling Bee) took to its Facebook post to congratulate N’Adom and the entire Ghanaian team.

“Congratulations to our Teen Queen Bee!!! N’Adom Darko-Asare, your resilience, your persistence, your tenacity… leave us BEE-dazzled!!! Fam, aren’t we all terribly proud of her?!!!,” the post read.

This year’s Ghanaian team of spellers wore uniform outfits, including black turtlenecks, white pants, and shoes with the Ghanaian flag, along with designed jackets showing kente fabric sleeves.

According to the Ghanaian Program Director, Salome Dzakpasu, the team’s success is attributed to teamwork and hard work.

“It’s teamwork. The spellers work very hard together. Training together on weekends, on weekdays, sometimes evenings, learning how to combine schoolwork and preparing for the bee,” Salome Dzakpasu said.

In 2016, Afua Ansah Manukure, a 14-year-old student from Ridge Church School, made history as the first Ghanaian to advance to the final rounds of the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee in the United States.

The competition organized by the Scripps National Spelling Bee took place in National Harbor, Maryland, in May 2024.

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The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a recognized U.S. educational program that challenges students to showcase their spelling and vocabulary abilities.

Starting in the quarterfinals, the bee’s word panel can use any of the more than half a million words in Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. While the panel tries to maintain a consistent level of difficulty in each round, it can vary from word to word.

This year, 245 spellers earned their spots as national competitors by advancing through regional spelling bees, competing against students representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe. Spellers from Ghana, the Bahamas and  Canada were the only three countries outside the U.S. allowed to represent. Ghana was the only African country in the competition.

A 12-Year-Old Teenager Won the Ultimate Prize

Bruhat Soma, a 12-year-old seventh-grader, emerged as the winner in the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 30, 2024, defeating his final competitor in a spell-off and correctly spelling 29 words to claim the top prize. He took home the title and $50,000.

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