WASHINGTON,May 29 – Katherine Kappelmann has been down this road before. The nerves,lights and anxiety are all too familiar to Katherine as she begins to compete a second time in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“I am excited and nervous at the same time,” she said Tuesday. Katherine,who is home-schooled,won the 19th annual Standard-Times Spelling bee in March. Now,advancing to the finals,Katherine hopes to make it further this time.
Two years ago,she was eliminated after the second round,which all spellers compete in.
The shy,yet focused,13-year-old,has always had an appreciation for words. “Spelling has helped me learn how much fun words really are,” she said. A fan of novels and historical books,Katherine called reading her hobby. “I love to read. Since I was little that's all I would do.”
During her spare time,Katherine enjoys learning the origins of words as well as their roots. “You can't memorize the dictionary. So I just study the roots,” she said. Katherine's mother,Yvonne,who is also her home-school teacher,coaches her as she prepares for spelling competitions.
Last year,Katherine's older sister,Kristen,competed in the bee. She spelled out in the third round,finishing 86th out of 280. Katherine is making use of her sister's experience. “It helped me by watching her,” she said.
Katherine will know shortly after lunchtime Wednesday if her score on the written test and first oral round are high enough to send her into the quarterfinals that afternoon. By 5:30 Wednesday,she'll know if she's made it to Thursday's semi-finals,to be televised on ESPN.
Besides spelling and reading,playing the harp is another favorite hobby. “One day,I hope to become a harpist,” she said.
Katherine also has a fondness for Washington. “It's a cool city,and there is so much to do,” she said.
So what is her favorite spot? ” Mount Vernon is a really neat place,” she said of the first president's home,which she toured Tuesday.
“It's just in time because we just finished up revolutionary history,” her mom chimed in.
The Scripps National spelling bee is in its 80th year and features spellers from all 50 states Canada,Guam,U.S. Virgin Islands,Bahamas,Jamaica,New Zealand and Europe. The semi-finals will televised on ESPN Thursday morning,and the finals are live from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday on ABC.