LIMA — It took 22 rounds, three children with an incredible ability to spell, and two final words for 13-year-old Adeline Moore, of Forest, pharmacy and statically, to be crowned the local spelling champion.
“I am honored to be able to compete in the national spelling bee,” Adeline said after winning the Lima Regional Spelling Bee that qualifies her for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.
Adeline, who is home-schooled, said she studied for the past three weeks about an hour a day with her mother’s help. She was nervous in the beginning, calmed down and became nervous again as she and two others kept spelling words correctly after the 13th round.
In the 20th round, Alotus Wei, an eighth-grader at Shawnee Middle School, was tripped up on the word bellwether meaning an indicator or predictor of something, leaving only Adeline and sixth-grader Adith Joshua George of Holy Angels left.
In the next round, Adith misspelled the word tryworks, defined as a brick furnace in which try-pots are placed. Adeline then had to spell pharmacy to complete the round and then statically in round 22 for the win. Had she made a mistake, it would have continued with Adith.
There were 45 children, all winners from their schools ranging from fourth to eighth grade participating.
Children use various strategies including writing out the word on their hand using their finger to looking up to the ceiling and spelling it in their head first. Many ask for the definition of a word and for it to be used in a sentence. While some words may seem relatively easy such as military, there are a number of words many adults likely have not heard.
Children received ahead of time a list of words to be used but there also were words off the list.
“Once they started going off list nobody was getting out or even shakened. I was counting on the off list to throw everyone out in the first couple rounds but that didn’t happen,” Adeline said.
Adeline prepared as best as she could and came across a couple of words she struggled with but thought each through and spelled each correctly. She said she felt “terrified” at the beginning but it was just nerves.
“There was a couple when they went off list in the last couple rounds I didn’t recognize. I’ve been spelling and reading so much I could figure them out,” she said.
But she stuck to her plan.
“My strategy was take as much time as I need to onstage and just think everything through as much as possible and just go with my instinct. At home I would sometimes double guess myself and get it wrong,” she said.
Adeline now plans to study even harder in hopes of doing well at the national competition.
“I’m probably just going to study as much as possible and read more advanced books,” she said.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.