The eighth-grade student from Newburgh,Ind.,advanced to the national bee after spelling “ionize” in the 2011 Tri-State Spelling Bee.
And she breezed through Rounds 2 and 3 Wednesday morning. But in the afternoon,she discovered she would not move on to the semifinals Thursday morning.
In the moments leading to the announcement of the semifinalists,Olivia,14,sat calmly reading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” She said it was the best way for her to deal with the pressure of competition.
“It was kind of intimidating sitting around so many good spellers,” Olivia said. “I’m just really proud of myself for making it this far.”
This is her first national bee,and her last – she will be too old next year.
In Round 2,Olivia correctly spelled “stratagem,” an artifice or trick in war for deceiving and outwitting the enemy. In Round 3,Olivia spelled “feint” with ease. Each correct word was worth 3 points – adding 6 points to her total score.
The scores from Rounds 2 and 3 were combined with the spellers’ scores from the written test,worth a maximum of 25 points,to determine which spellers would advance to the semifinal round.
Forty-one spellers with scores of 29 or higher moved to the semifinals.
Olivia,her parents,brother and sister planned to watch the rest of the competition,which ends Thursday night.
While Olivia said competing was her prize,she will not leave the bee empty-handed.
All spellers received gift cards or cash prizes,a $100 U.S. savings bond and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary on CD-ROM.
The champion will receive a $30,000 cash prize from Scripps,a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from Merriam-Webster,a $5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation,$2,600 in reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica and an online course and Nook from K12 Inc.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Co. It is being held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside of Washington in Prince George’s County,Md.
Reach reporter Kendra Johnson at [email protected] or 202-326-9861
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