History of the White County Spelling Bee

School Bees
For Parents


In 1980, Phi Delta Kappa began sponsoring the spelling bee in White County.  Phi Delta Kappa is an international honorary educational fraternity that is no longer active in this area but still prominent nationally. Dr. Richard Duke, then with the College of Education, and a member of Phi Delta Kappa wrote numerous letters and was responsible for starting the spelling bee in White County schools. The first winner, Sheila Persons, a 6th grader from Searcy, went to the Mid-South Spelling Bee in Memphis, sponsored by the Press-Scimiter. Originally, only grades 5-7 participated. Grade 8 was added in1983.


Also in 1983, the Arkansas Gazette, in conjunction with Scripps-Howard, became part of the National Spelling Bee and the White County Bee began its affiliation with the National Bee.  In 1992, The Daily Citizen joined Phi Delta Kappa in co-sponsoring the White County Spelling Bee. In 1999, Harding University, through the Cannon-Clary College of Education became co-sponsors with The Daily Citizen. In 2007, the Kiwanis Club joined the ranks as a sponsor, and the most recent addition was First Community Bank in 2009.


Previous Year's Winners