NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Emma Jankowski, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Cleveland, said her years of theater training have prepared her for the stage presence she will need to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The first-time competitor said she started preparing months before the competition by taking online and multiple-choice tests every day.
Emma said Tuesday’s written test had a lot of hard words.
“I sounded out the words I didn’t know to do the best I can,” said the Learwood Middle School student.
Emma said she is expecting hard words during the bee and is looking forward to having fun and making great memories.
The Cleveland resident is contestant No. 189.
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 Ashia Aubrey [email protected] or 202-408-1490. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.