37 years ago as a nervous eighth grader, I competed in the San Diego County Spelling Bee. I can clearly remember the excitement of that day, how nervous I was, and the exhilaration of spelling words correctly. While I didn't win, I fell in love with spelling bees. They are a passion that I'm thrilled to share with my oldest daughter, Daniella. She has competed in and won several local and District spelling bees, and placed sixth in last year's Fresno County competition. The hours we spend with each other practicing, learning words, and getting her prepared to compete are special to us.
When I saw one of my classmates up there spelling one of the words I was hoping he'd spell it right. He did not. Even if he did not win he is still a champion to our school.
I have always loved words, which is why I am an author! My mother worked with me to review my spelling words each week, whether it was at bath time, while jumping rope, or in the car.
All that hard work paid off in fifth grade! Back in 2000, my school did written spelling tests, not bees. I qualified for the district spelling test, which only five students took.
The superintendent gave us the words, and I felt good as I kept writing them down.
Finally, she said, "Your last word is 'vacuum.'"
Okay... Hmmm... Is it two C's? I thought to myself as I wrote.
In 6th grade at the school spelling bee, we had a "warm up" round so that the students wouldn't be nervous when faced with difficult words in the rounds to come. The words were incredibly basic (ex. Dog, house, pen), but when my classmate came up to the microphone to spell his word, you could immediately tell he was nervous. When given the word "bread", he spelled it wrong and was eliminated in the first round. Gotta love the bee
Me: "Bath robe, b a t h space r o b e."
Teacher: "Umm, well you spelled it correctly, but there is no space in between bath and robe. It is all one word..."
I was in the seventh grade and I was the first from my county to ever make it to the oral round of our regional spelling bee. I was doing well, going through words with ease, but alas I was getting tired and misspelled the word "Shoally." (Honestly I don't even know if it's spelled right now!)