EDUCATION

'Throwback Tuesday': For some contestants, the National Spelling Bee runs in the family

It's easy to spot the families who've been to the Scripps National Spelling Bee more than once.

Participants get an official T-shirt every year. Parents and older siblings often sport vintage tees from prior visits.

Tamya Matthews of Clinton, Maryland, wore her T-shirt from last year while taking this year's preliminary spelling and vocabulary test, calling it a "throwback Tuesday."

No sibling of a previous champion has ever won, but this year's competition is stacked with contestants who've watched older brothers or sisters. Thirty-six spellers have relatives who've competed. Three past champions have siblings in the competition.

Parents say that it's tough to prepare for the bee and that watching a sibling can make it easier.

Spellers get their first crack at the national stage Wednesday. Semifinals and finals are Thursday.