WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Forty-one young semi-finalists were competing on Thursday to see who will make the final round to determine the title of best speller in the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Victory is not the only thing the winner will be able to spell out.
The superlative speller can look forward to a $30,000 cash prize, a trophy, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond, a complete reference library, a $5,000 scholarship, $2,600 in reference works and other prizes.
The competitors who started the semi-final round on Thursday included students from the United States and its territories, as well as the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
The first National Spelling Bee was held in 1925 and since then has become one of the largest and well known educational competitions.
Last year's winner, Anamika Veeramani from Cleveland, Ohio, won by spelling "stromuhr" correctly.
Although organizers say picking favorites to win is difficult in this type of competition, many are looking at Pennsylvania's Joanna Ye and Ontario native Laura Newcombe. The two tied for fifth in last year's competition.
The final round of the competition will be aired live on Thursday night on ESPN.
(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)