Three-time champion returns to defend Spelling Bee title | Events
From Derby Festival Press Office
LOUISVILLE, KY- The Kentucky Derby Festival’s three-time reigning champion will defend her title this weekend at the 20th annual Ford Motor Company Spelling Bee Finals. Emily Keaton, an eighth-grader from Pikeville, Ky., has won the bee since 2010. Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, 65 students from Kentucky and Southern Indiana counties will compete for bragging rights and savings bonds.
"The 20th annual Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee is an important event to highlight the most talented students from across the state. Since Ford's beginnings in the city of Louisville 100 years ago, we have made it a priority to support our local community and schools. Ford Motor Company congratulates all of this year's participants," said Kimberly Hofmann, Ford Zone Manager for the Cincinnati region.
The overall champion of this year’s Spelling Bee will receive the John & Joan Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund, a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond at maturity. The next four top finishers will also receive savings bonds – $5,000 for second place, $3,000 for third, $1,500 for fourth and $1,000 for fifth. The prize money will be provided by the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation – the Derby Festival’s charitable arm. The 65 qualifiers represent 62 different counties.
“One of our more far-reaching events, this competition showcases talented students from around Kentucky and Southern Indiana and it’s always a nail-biter up until the final word is spelled,” said Mike Berry, KDF President and CEO. “We’re thankful our Foundation is able to offer savings bonds to the top five spellers. We hope they’ll be able to use those funds to help with college expenses.”
In addition to a $10,000 saving bond, the overall Spelling Bee champion will receive a Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Hasbro Scrabble game, an Amazon.com gift card and a trophy. The winner will also have the opportunity to ride the Winner’s Float in the 58th annual Republic Bank Pegasus Parade on May 2. The Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee is sponsored by Ford Motor Company, with contributing sponsors University of Louisville, Kentucky Monthly and 84WHAS.