Spelling Bee Phenom Refuses to Compete on Sabbath

Elliot Huck, one of the nation’s top spellers, has decided to sit out from this year’s regional spelling bee, because the event occurs on the Sabbath Day.

The 14-year-old, who placed 45th last year at the National Spelling Bee, felt that the competition would conflict with the Christian tradition to rest on Sunday.

"I always try to glorify God with what I do in the spelling bee because He is the one who gave me the talent for spelling," said the spelling phenom to the IndyStar. “Now I think I'm going to not spell and try to give glory to God in that."

In past years, there has been no problem for Huck since all the competitions were held on Saturdays. The situation has changed this year to accommodate new spellers, however.

Before, regionals consisted only of students in Monroe County, but two more were added this year from Morgan and Lawrence counties. To meet the needs of all three counties, the day of the contest had to be moved.

The regionals organizer, the Bloomington Herald-Times newspaper, refused to move the date when asked by the parents and Huck’s school. They noted that it would not be fair to the other participants.

"It is a choice that his family has made not to allow him to participate," said E. Mayer Maloney Jr., the Herald-Times publisher, in the IndyStar. "Frankly, they are trying to reflect some of that responsibility onto us. While I understand why they might want to do that, 29 other families are going to be participating."

Huck, who has won the past two regional competitions, was disappointed with the situation and has put a lot of work into preparing, including training two hours a day during the summer. He feels that this is what God want him to do, however.

The National Spelling Bee will be held on May 30-31 in Washington, D.C., and will be broadcasted on ABC.