AVON — Over a year of rigorous practice and multiple on-stage competitions have led up to this — a chance for eighth-grader Kaitlin Hall to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the second year in a row.
“I’m so excited to go again,” Kaitlin said, adding that she doesn’t feel nervous because she’s looking forward to two days of activities, food and most of all, the competition.
The big event takes place May 28 and 29, and Kaitlin, a student at Avon Middle School, has participated, again will be sponsored by The Chronicle-Telegram and other local sponsors. She finished tied for 43rd place last year.
“My vocabulary use day to day has improved so much,” Kaitlin said.
The spelling bee is in Washington, D.C., and will see 281 students competing this year from around the country. Students will begin with a computerized test and an on-stage portion for the preliminary competition.
Some students will move on to semifinals and then the championship, which will consist solely of the on-stage competition.
Kaitlin said that since last year she has been studying to improve her vocabulary, including poring over the list of words provided by the competition and looking up her own words to memorize. However, she said, some foreign language words — like “schadenfreude” — are especially difficult.
While the chance to compete is exciting, it is not a first for Kaitlin, who initially found a love for spelling bees in the third grade when she won her first.
“Since then, I have studied and realized I have a passion for the English language,” Kaitlin said. She is in a club called “Power of the Pen,” which allows her to develop her writing skills.
The national spelling bee will be live on ESPN.