Louisville, KY. – 12-year-old Tara Singh of Louisville is a three-time champion after winning her third consecutive Derby Festival Spelling Bee. Singh also won the competition in 2016 and 2017. She correctly spelled “Rathskeller” – A restaurant or tavern, usually below street level, that serves beer. The competition was held in the Bomhard Theater at the Kentucky Center for the Arts (501 W. Main Street in Louisville). Briahna Higgins of Logan County, Kentucky, was runner-up in the competition among students from Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
Singh represents Jefferson County Private Schools and is an 8th grade student at Louisville Classical Academy. This was her fifth year competing in the Derby Festival Spelling Bee. 61 students from 58 counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana participated in today’s 25th annual Ford Motor Company Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee, going through 305 words and 11 rounds.
“I was nervous from the first word, but was less nervous as the Bee progressed,” said Singh after being named champion of the bee. As for how she prepares for the event, Singh says, “I read a lot because you always learn new words and it also helps to study etymology.” Singh will not have much time off from studying. She’ll compete in another bee next weekend in hopes of qualifying to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer.
For today’s win, Singh received The Fillies Scholarship Fund, a $10,000 savings bond at maturity from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation, the Derby Festival’s charitable arm. She also received a Britannica online subscription gift certificate, a copy of Valerie’s Spelling Bee Supplement, as well as Tile Lock Scrabble. Singh will also have the opportunity to ride the Winner’s Float in the 63rd annual Republic Bank Pegasus Parade on May 3rd.
Briahna Higgins received a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond for finishing runner-up in the 25th annual competition. Kenneth Treece of Bell County, finished third, winning a $3,000 savings bond. Ashley DeVore of Fayette County finished fourth and received a $1,500 savings bond. Allison Whelan of Nelson County finished fifth, winning a $1,000 savings bond. The prize money is provided by the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation – the Derby Festival’s charitable arm.
The Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee is sponsored by Ford Motor Company, with Contributing Sponsor Texas Roadhouse. Media Sponsors include Kentucky Monthly and 98.9 Radio Now.
The Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.