Rookwood Pottery Creates First Custom-Designed Trophy for the Scripps National Spelling Bee

The trophy is the first original creation for winners in the Bee's 90-year history

click to enlarge The Scripps National Spelling Bee trophy - Photo: Provided by Rookwood Pottery
Photo: Provided by Rookwood Pottery
The Scripps National Spelling Bee trophy

Cincinnati's historic Rookwood Pottery has created the first custom trophy for the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition.

The purpose of the Bee, according to its mission statement, is to "help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives."

The Scripps Cup, the first original trophy creation in the bee's 90-year history, was designed by Rookwood's director of product development, Mary Guanciale, and hand-carved by Gary Simon, master mold-maker and sculptor, then hand-painted by Rookwood artists Deborah Smith and Heidi Shannon.

“The world’s attention will be on Bee Week and on the National Finals, waiting for that special moment when the Scripps Spelling Bee Champion is announced,” said Micah Caroll, president and CEO of Rookwood Pottery in a release. “This one-of-a-kind design honors nine-decades of history and achievement, providing the Bee with a unique award and a meaningful piece of art that commemorates a tremendous milestone.” 

Unveiled at the Scripps National Spelling Bee's opening ceremony May 27 in National Harbor, Maryland, the design features a honeycomb mouth, little bumblebees and gladiolus flowers blooming from an open book. According to a press release, ”Gladiolus” was the first winning word in 1925. The base is hand-carved walnut, custom-made by Family Woodworks, to represent Scripps' Spelling Bee headquarters on Walnut Street in Cincinnati; it will be engraved with the winning student's name.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee finals will air at 8:30 p.m. May 30 on ESPN. Visit for more information about the Scripps Cup and for more on the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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