Education

Meet the 10 SoCal kids in the National Spelling Bee

Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Thalia Hoang-Vy Nguyen, 12, from Freedom Middle School in Bakersfield.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Haley Jeffers, 13, from Las Colinas Middle School in Camarillo, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Daniel Chen, 13, from Loving Savior of the Hills Lutheran School in Chino Hills, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Ali H. Hussain, 13, from Kennedy Middle School in El Centro, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Cooper Komatsu, 13, from Culver City Middle School in Culver City, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Aisha K. Randhawa, 10, from Garretson Elementary School in Corona, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Ethan Thomas Gomulka, 11, from Del Rosa Christian School in San Bernardino, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Ella Grace Peters, 13, from Notre Dame Academy in San Diego, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Samuel Littrell, 14, from Kraemer Middle School in Placentia, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Kaylee Kim, 13, from Fort Irwin Middle School in Fort Irwin, California.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee
Contestants in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee take the multiple choice spelling and vocabulary test on Tuesday, May 24, the first day of the competition.
It's not all serious competition. Competitors enjoy other activities during "Bee Week."
Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee


Southern California schools have 10 young contestants representing them in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week.

Among them are bee veterans Cooper Komatsu, 13, of Culver City, who is returning for his second time; Samuel Littrell, 14, of Placentia, also competing for a second time; and Kaylee Kim, 14, of Fort Irwin, competing for a third time. See the full list below and click through the slideshow to see each contestant.

The competition brings together 285 young spellers who have advanced from their regional contests to compete for the national championship. The youngest competitor is 6 (yes, just one!). The oldest competitors are 15.

The contest began on Tuesday with a multiple-choice spelling and vocabulary quiz.

On Wednesday, the competitors will face off in two single elimination rounds — one misspelled word, and they’re out of the competition.

At the end of the day, quiz scores will be used to help whittle the pool of remaining contestants down to a maximum of 50.

The final rounds begin Thursday morning, with a championship round Thursday evening.

Regardless of quiz results, all spellers will get to compete in the first round, and the list of contestants who get to advance will be posted by 2 p.m. Pacific Wednesday.

How to watch

ESPN has exclusive live broadcast rights, so you can watch on TV or stream online here if you have a cable subscription. The broadcast begins at 5 a.m. PT, but there’s another round in the afternoon.

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Other ways to follow the action

If you can’t watch, you can still get updates in real time by checking out the Spelling Bee website or following the Scripps Twitter account and hashtag #spellingbee.

Test your spelling skills

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a champion speller, you can take an online test drawing from last year’s words. It’s no joke.

List of Southern California contestants

Name Speller No. Age Grade School City
Thalia Hoang-Vy Nguyen 8 12 7th Freedom Middle School Bakersfield
Haley Jeffers 9 13 7th Las Colinas Middle School Camarillo
Daniel Chen 10 13 7th Loving Savior of the Hills Lutheran School Chino Hills
Ali H. Hussain 11 13 7th Kennedy Middle School El Centro
Cooper Komatsu 13 13 8th Culver City Middle School Culver City
Aisha K. Randhawa 15 10 5th Garretson Elementary School Corona
Ethan Thomas Gomulka 18 11 6th Del Rosa Christian School San Bernardino
Ella Grace Peters 19 13 7th Notre Dame Academy San Diego
Samuel Littrell 21 14 8th Kraemer Middle School Placentia
Kaylee Kim 281 13 8th Fort Irwin Middle School Fort Irwin