WASHINGTON,May 26 – Tuesday marked the beginning of Laura Churchill's journey through the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Laura and the 292 other spellers participated in Round One of the preliminaries. While Laura won't know how she did until late Wednesday afternoon,she's not too worried.
“I think I did OK. There were a few words I know I got wrong because I checked them on the computer after,” Laura said.
Laura is competing for the grand prize of $30,000 and an engraved trophy.
The contestants spelled 50 words using a computer keyboard. Twenty-five of the 50 words will count toward the spellers' preliminary scores.
The 13-year-old from Craig Middle School flew here with her family for the Bee over the weekend.
This is Laura's first visit to the nation's capital,and she plans to use her time wisely. Her mom,dad and two older brothers,John and James,visited the Smithsonian Institution Tuesday.
They're also making it a point to try Italian,Ethiopian and Asian cuisine.
“You know,we're just used to Texas barbecue,so we really wanted to try other types of food,” Anita Churchill,Laura's mom,said.
All spellers advance to Rounds Two and Three on Wednesday,when they will spell words orally on stage. Each correct word earns spellers three points. Bee officials will determine the semifinalists based on the points earned during the preliminary rounds. No more than 50 spellers will advance to the championship finals.
As she prepares for the next round,Laura plans to “relax and study the words for Round Three.”
The Scripps National Spelling Bee began in 1925 with nine spellers. Now in its 82nd year,the program features 293 spellers from the United States and countries such as the Bahamas,Canada and China.
Round Three of the Bee airs on ESPN Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. The semifinals air on ESPN at 9 a.m. Thursday. The finals air at 7 p.m. Thursday on ABC.