Three home school students participated in the 1992 National Spelling Bee held in Washington, D.C. May 25-30.
Jennifer Phillips from Colorado, Meaghan Mulholland from Massachusetts, and David Wahl from Montana joined spellers from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and Department of Defense schools to compete for the championship title.
Meaghan Mulholland missed a word on the first day. But she is determined to come back next year and take the title! David Wahl spelled his way to the 8th round. He tied for 7th place with 8 other spellers. Jennifer Phillips holds 5th place.
The National Spelling Bee has been an annual event since 1925. Its goal is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, acquire concepts, learn language development, and improve their reading skills.
Scripps Howard, the sponsor of the spelling bee, considers all of the finalists champions. The week at the National Spelling Bee is designed to honor all the contestants for their hard work and achievement as well as to name a new spelling champion.
Involvement in the National Spelling Bee is sponsored by over 220 local newspapers across the nation. Contact your local newspaper and find out if they are a sponsor. If they are not, you may call the National Spelling Bee office at (513) 977-3027 to locate the closest sponsoring newspaper. Several home school support groups held qualifying spelling bees-that's how Jennifer and Meaghan started out this year.
Jennifer, David, and Meaghan, we congratulate each of you for your hard work and excellent achievement!
by David Wahl—Cut Bank, Montana
The trip to Washington and the spelling bee were a lot of fun. I learned many new words and also learned much about the bee.
I became part of the spelling bee program because I have always been interested in spelling. My mom asked our county superintendent of schools if I could participate, and so I got a place in the county bee this year. Near the end of the county bee, there was just one girl and I left on the stage. We went through about 72 rounds before I correctly spelled two words in a row. Some words I spelled in the County bee were: chalicosis, sybaritically, and craquelure.
There was only one other home schooler out of a total of 67 spellers at the state bee, but he did very well. I won the competition by spelling “staccato” and “prestidigitation.”
However, the county and state bees weren’t as challenging as the National Spelling Bee. I really enjoyed the national bee. I met a lot of other spellers and made a good friend with a boy from Indiana.
In preparation for the bees, I studied from the word lists the spelling bee people gave me, then studied old word lists, origins, and other words. My mom paid me 10 cents after each session of spelling (about 20 minutes) if I spelled slowly. Spelling slowly helps a lot.
We enjoyed seeing the Capitol, Washington Monument, Air & Space Museum, the Supreme Court, Mount Vernon, and the White House. Some highlights were visiting with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and being able to get a special tour down the steps in the Washington Monument.
Spelling My Way to Washington, D.C.
by Jennifer Phillips—Lakewood, Colorado
CHEA [Christian Home Education Association] sponsored a home school qualifying bee. From this we sent seven students to the state bee. I placed first at this bee.
The state bee was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain News and was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. There were 257 contestants. First we had to take a written test to eliminate it down to 27 contestants. I tied for first place on the written test, and received a plaque. I was very excited about this. I went on to compete in the oral spell down where I took first place.
I spent many hours in preparation for the Nationals. This included past spelling bee lists, roots, and the dictionary. I also had the help of Florence Bailly, whose son was a national winner, and Bill Thill, a former national contestant. I had a wonderful time touring Washington D.C., but the thing I enjoyed the most was placing fifth in the nation.
I am most thankful to God who helped me to be able to remember the words and to know what to study.