NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Brooke Biby is a first-time Scripps National Spelling Bee competitor from Omaha, Neb. This 12-year-old aspiring author is in the sixth grade at Joslyn Elementary School, where she excels at music as well as spelling.
Brooke has been practicing nonstop for the competition and can’t wait until she can celebrate at the banquet when it’s over.
“I’m looking forward to being on stage, but I hope I don’t fall,” she said.
When it comes to tackling the words, Brooke has a simple strategy: “I’m just going to think about the word in my head and spell it.”
Brooke has a love for literature and hopes to become a fantasy author one day.
“My favorite book is ‘The Naughtiest Girl in School’ by Enid Blyton,” Brooke said of the book about a girl who attends a boarding school.
Brooke has another talent that can help her in her dreams of becoming an author, drawing.
“She is very good,” Lovella Biby, her grandmother, said. “She can draw anything freehand, so that will be good for her books.”
When she is not practicing spelling or reading the latest Enid Blyton novel, Brooke can be found immersing herself in music. She can play several instruments by ear, but she loves the violin.
She also enjoys ballroom dancing and playing soccer.
She is looking forward to exploring Washington with her parents, little sister and grandparents before heading back to Nebraska.
All 285 spellers took a written spelling and vocabulary test Tuesday morning. Spellers take the stage for Round 2 at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Those who spell their words correctly spell again on stage in the afternoon. ESPN3 will televise the competition beginning at 8 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. EDT.
At about 5 p.m., bee officials will announce the names of a maximum of 50 spellers to advance to the semifinals. They are chosen based on the points they earn for correctly spelling words on stage and their scores on the written test. ESPN 2 will broadcast the semifinals beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday.
The finals will air Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN. The winner takes home $35,000 in cash, a trophy and other prizes.
Reach reporter Eric Perry at [email protected] or 202-408-1493. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.