Bee Witched!

UPDATED 06/07/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/07/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT

NAME: Wendy Guey Lai, 26, Cambridge, Mass.

JOB: Math teacher

WINNING YEAR: 1996

WORD: Vivisepulture (n. The act or process of burying alive)

A FAMILY'S DREAM: My parents were Chinese immigrants who came here speaking broken English. For their daughter to win this was noteworthy. The day after I won, I remember we went to a Chinese restaurant in Washington, D.C.; the owner gave us 10 percent off!

NAME: Kavya Shivashankar, 14, Olathe, Kans.

JOB: High school freshman

WINNING YEAR: 2009

WORD: Laodicean (adj. Lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics)

SPELLING GENES: The moment I heard the word, I recognized it, and I knew this was it. When I lifted that trophy, it was surreal. This year my 8-year-old sister Vanya is representing Kansas and is the youngest one in the bee. I'm so proud.

NAME: Irving Belz, 72, Houston

JOB: Psychiatrist

WINNING YEAR: 1951

WORD: Insouciant (adj. Exhibiting or characterized by freedom from concern or care)

ADVICE TO YOUNG SPELLERS: Read a lot-and learn classical Greek and Latin.

NAME: Stephanie Petit, 36, San Francisco

JOB: Lawyer

WINNING YEAR: 1987

WORD: Staphylococci (n. pl. Any bacterium of a genus of gram-positive eubacteria)

LASTING MEMORY: President Reagan told my mom, "I hope your daughter doesn't ask me to spell anything."

NAME: John Paola, 47, Annapolis, Md.

JOB: Veterinarian

WINNING YEAR: 1977

WORD: Cambist (n. One who deals in bills of exchange)

HELP FROM ABOVE?: I went to Catholic school, so I had a little card with a prayer on it. I held it the whole time.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters