By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
To prepare for The Herald Bulletin’s upcoming spelling bee, Ellie Fleming practices every day, averaging 100 words daily.
A third-grader at St. Ambrose School, Ellie is the youngest competitor out of 19 students heading to Wednesday’s competition.
Each had to win their school’s spelling bees to advance.
“I feel happy and proud,” she said. Her mom, Erin, is proud, too.
The regional winner will head to Washington D.C. for the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee which begins May 28.
“I’ll just try to spell my best,” Ellie said of Wednesday’s competition.
She’s been studying with her mom along with taking words out of the dictionary. Ellie likes learning new vocabulary words and how to pronounce them.
The night before her school spelling bee, she went over hundreds of words, Erin said.
“I don’t push her to do it. She does it on her own,” she said, adding Ellie is “very dedicated to studying” and good under pressure.
On the other end of the age spectrum is Highland Middle School eighth grader Joseph Kirkpatrick, competing for his third Herald Bulletin spelling bee title. He won in 2011 on the word “tentativeness” and made it to the third round in D.C.
Students can compete up until the eighth grade.
Amy Winter, The Herald Bulletin’s circulation manager, organizes the event.
“We want to provide an opportunity for students to represent our community,” she said.
She added that dedicated teachers keep the spelling bee going and stressed the importance of literacy as it “represents the basics of education.”
Tristan Hankins, a fifth-grader at 10th Street Elementary, has been competing in spelling bees since the third grade. It’s very nerve wrecking, he said, but also fun.
Tristan likes to be challenged.
“I’m just studying with my mom. It’s worked for me in the past,” he said. “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
Sarah Slaven, a seventh-grader at Pendleton Heights Middle School, said consonants sometimes trip her up but she’s been working on the “i before e” rule.
She likes learning new words to use in public, adding she feels smarter the more she knows.
Sarah said winning her school’s spelling bee was “pretty awesome” and that she’s in it to win it.
“I like the competition,” she said. “I’m the oldest sibling of my house and there’s always a big battle.”
The Herald Bulletin’s regional spelling bee is at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the city building’s auditorium, 120 East Eighth St. The public is invited to attend.
Find Dani Palmer on Facebook and @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.