Yes, We're Gambling on Spelling Bees Now

Article & artwork by: Bob Eckstein


Betting action for the Scripps National Spelling Bee has never been more illecebrous, with a plethora of exhilarating contingencies. 

This year the event takes place Memorial Day weekend to June 2 with the championships in the nation’s capital. 


Here are this year's Best Bets.

George Opoku-Appoh III

Age 11 Grade 6

I.Q.: 168

Nickname: George Opoku-Appoh III

Bio: His hobbies include bifurcation physics and Pokémon.

Favorite Sport: None 

Favorite Word: quadrivium

Hobbies: “Traveling through Lithuania, incognito.”

Favorite Quote: “There is no need to use a fifty-dollar word when a $ million-dollar word will do.”

Tell: Squeals like a pig when he knows the spelling of an exceptionally difficult word.


Jessica Bounkousonh-Hewitt 

Age 14 Grade 8

I.Q.: 268

Nickname: Teacher’s Pet

Bio: Jessica thinks shes Emily Bronte.

Hobbies: Baking cookies, writing novels and Hawaiian textiles.

Favorite Word: mellifluous

Favorite Quote: “You should talk.” Used in a sentence: “I need to hurry up and get dressed? You should talk.”

Tell: Starts looking on her iPhone


Albert Lee

Age 6 First year Med school 

I.Q.: 348 

Nicknames: Albert Einstein, The Owl, Yoda M.D., Dr. Minion, Oompa Loompa.   

Bio: Captain of math team, chess team, and debate club.

Hobbies: Making a fort out of blankets and pillows.

Favorite Word: stromuhr

Favorite Quote: His I.Q. is 348.” 

Tell: starts speaking Latin


Sydney Muthukumar

Age 11 Grade 8

I.Q.: 220

Nickname: The Pulverizer

Bio: Sydney’s entrepreneurial spirit and fascination with securities have led her to become a highly successful entrepreneur and highly unpopular with her classmates.

Hobbies: Mergers, hostile takeovers and student business competitions.

Favorite Word: interlocutory

Favorite Quote: “Life is like a spelling bee—it’s something I’m really good at.”

Tell: Starts reciting the periodic table


Heather Alfano

Age N/A 

Registered nurse at Greenfield Hospital

Bio: Heather is raising two children on her own.

Hobbies: Tinder 

Favorite Word: Cunningness makes Heather laugh out loud. 

Favorite Quote: “Mommy needs some me time.” 

Tell: Starts dropping the f-bomb, left and right.


Nick Palieo

age 15 H.S. sophomore 

I.Q.: 155

Nickname: Killer Bee

Bio: Nick has a lot of plates he’s spinning.

Hobbies: Programming his own computer games and online gambling. Nick has a membership at Top Golf, where he conducts business.

Favorite Word: phlegm

Favorite Quote: Im the Tom Brady of spelling bees.”

Tell: Makes funny noises
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