This week, the 87th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee puts 281 grade schoolers to the ultimate test.
The contestants, ranging from 8 to 15 years old, have typically studied for years, won regional spelling bees, and made it through a multi-round process of elimination to end up on the national stage in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
The winner of Thursday night’s final round gets cash, swag — and the ultimate bragging rights.
We’ve found photos of some of the competition’s past winners in their moments of glory.
Here's 1955 winner Sandra Sloss on the U.S.S. Wisconsin, thrilled to be flanked by Ed Sullivan and British boxer Don Cocknell. The 13-year-old won with 'crustaceology.'
1971 winner Jonathan Knisely doesn't even try to contain his excitement after winning with 'shalloon.'
Texan Robin Kral couldn't be happier to have won 1972's Bee. Lauren Pringle, right, is not so happy with second place.
Jody-Anne Maxwell hoists the trophy above her after scoring the victory with 'chiaroscurist' in 1998.
Evan M. O'Dorney was immediately in love with the trophy when he won in 2007. He won after spelling 'serrefine.'
Sukanya Roy needs help to hold up the gleaming symbol of her victory in 2011. She won with 'cymotrichous.'
The winner of the 2012 Bee, Snigdha Nandipati, is delirious with joy after winning with 'guetapens.'
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