Patrizzia,who is at the bee for a second time,did not qualify for the semifinals,earned 26 out of 36 points by Round 3 of the preliminaries. Semifinalists had to have at least a 28 to qualify.
Patrizzia had a feeling she hadn’t scored well enough on the written test. Asked after Round 3 how she would feel if she was not selected for the semifinals,she said,“I would be disappointed,but the upside is that there won’t be any more pressure.”
Patrizzia’s strategy of asking for definitions and requesting that the word be used in a sentence worked well for her.
In Round 3,she correctly spelled frescade,a shady place.
A seventh-grader at University Preparatory School,Redding Calif.,Patrizzia won first place at the Record Searchlight Regional Spelling Bee,which qualified her for the national bee.
Joy Fox-Beaudet,Patrizzia’s mother,came to the bee with her.
After giving her mom a kiss goodbye,Patrizzia,speller No. 14,sat in the front row on the stage and Fox-Beaudet sat in the audience with camera in hand as Round 2 began.
She also accompanied Patrizzia to the 2012 competition.
This year,they arrived on Friday,five days before the competition,to allow Patrizzia to get adjusted to the three-hour time difference.
Patrizzia has been eager to enter the spelling bee since she was in the third grade. When Patrizzia was 10 years old,she also made it to Round 3,but not the semifinals.
In 2013,Patrizzia came in second at her regional competition.
“At first I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know what word I would actually get,and whether or not I would accidentally forget or something but when I got my word,I realized,Oh I know this and I kind of calmed down,” she said.
Aside from maintaining a high GPA at school,she dedicates her time to perfecting her bee skills and practicing words.
Over the weekend leading up to Wednesday’s competition,Patrizzia said she “mostly studied and did last-minute preparation using the list of vocab words they gave us.”
Fox-Beaudet,who often practices vocabulary words and spelling with Patrizzia,did so over the weekend,and expected her daughter to do well.
“I assumed she would spell it correctly. The thing with spelling bees is that you have to learn to expect the unexpected,” she said. “Sometimes,things happen. Your mind blanks out. … You may know a word perfectly fine,but for whatever the reason you get up there and you blank or you say something you didn’t mean to say.”
There were 281 contestants at the start of the bee,and 46 of them will compete in the semifinals Thursday.
Mother and daughter both said the new vocabulary test was a good learning experience.
All spellers received a Microsoft Surface tablet,a copy of the Merriam-Webster international dictionary,a coin proof set and a one-year premium membership to Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The aspiring writer hopes to return to the National Spelling Bee next year,as an eight-grader with more buzz for her stinger.
Reach reporter Stacy Green at [email protected] or 202-326-9871. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.