Vie for National Spelling Bee championship (former finalists)

In the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee, former finalist Aliyah Alpert competed alongside five other returning contenders for the championship. The event, held in its 95th year at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, saw 245 participants from across the United States, including those from territories like Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as students from Ghana.

Aliyah, an eighth-grader from Phoenix, was one of the favored contestants, but faced fierce competition. She had made it to the eighth round in 2022 before being eliminated, and this was her final year in the competition due to age limits. As spellers were eliminated one by one, Aliyah expressed her nervousness, admitting there were several words she did not know.

Another former finalist, Shradha Rachamreddy, was initially seen as the potential winner. However, by the end of the semifinals, only Aliyah remained among the six former finalists. The semifinals began with 45 spellers, including several local contestants such as Navya Dwivedi and Nargiza Muzhapaer, but none advanced beyond this round.

Nargiza, a seventh-grader from Merrifield, Virginia, was a newcomer to the national bee. Her father, Muzaffar Mirzat, expressed his pride as he watched his daughter accurately spell word after word during the competition.

The event hall featured banners honoring previous winners, and the atmosphere was supportive, with attendees pinning encouraging notes and posters to the panels outside the main event. Throughout the day, parents consoled eliminated spellers and offered comfort through group hugs.

In the end, only one former finalist was left standing, and that was Aliyah. Despite her initial nerves and several unknown words, her accurate spelling of “heresiology” in the quarterfinals marked her progress in the competition. The finale continued with more challenging words, as the spellers fought for the coveted Scripps Cup and the $50,000 prize.