WASHINGTON,May 23 – Bee Week in Washington is finally here,and it is creating a buzz. The 82nd annual Scripps National Spelling Bee begins Tuesday and Liam Twight of Anderson,Calif.,is one of the 293 spellers.
Liam,a 12-year-old sixth grader at Pacheco Elementary School,beat out defending champion Bethany Strom in an intense final round at the local spelling bee to win the prized trip to Washington.
“I really just wanted to place in the top three,” Liam said. “I didn't expect to win.”
Liam has been participating in spelling competitions since the fourth grade.
“I don't think he realized he was a good speller then,” said his mother,Karen Twight. Liam's teachers entered him in the school's county spelling bee and he won,she said. He has been competing ever since.
With nearly 300 spellers going after the grand prize of $30,000,an engraved trophy and bragging rights for a year,Liam admits he is a little anxious about competing on such a big stage.
“I'm nervous about how well I'll do,” he said.
But his mother is sure he will do fine. “He does really well under pressure,” she said. “He works really hard.”
In between school and playing in Little League baseball games,Liam has been preparing for the spelling bee with the help of his mother and teacher Larie Pearson.
“I don't mind practicing,” he said. “I like to be good at things and I know it will help me in the future.”
Liam and his mother will fly to Washington Saturday,their first trip to the nation's capital. He said he is excited to see Washington.
“I want to see all the monuments and the White House,” he said,adding after a brief pause,”And it'd be pretty cool if I could hold the trophy up at the end.”