This morning we gathered for an assembly. We were introduced to Scripps staff as well as Bee officials including the pronouncer, Dr. Jacques Bailly, and the head judge, Mrs. Mary Brooks. Kate Miller, who was a finalist last year, reviewed the rules of the spelling bee and gave us some suggestions about what we should do for the on stage portions of the Bee.
Round 1 began shortly after the assembly. All 285 spellers took the exam at the same time this year. The preliminaries exam consisted of 26 multiple choice questions which included both spelling and vocabulary. The total number of points that could be earned in this round is 30. A speller needs to do well on this exam in order to have a chance at advancing in the bee because the points from this round are added to points earned on stage during Rounds 2 and 3 tomorrow. However, if a speller misspells on stage, they are eliminated. Only a maximum of 50 spellers advance to the semifinals; these people are the highest scorers through Round 3 of the competition. Some examples of spelling words we were asked were meunière, tarsorrhaphy, and schmierkase. Using my root word knowledge, I was able to figure out the definitions of words such as viridigenous (producing greenness), and hypercryalgesia (excessive pain due to cold) but there were many other words I didn’t know.
I think that many of the spellers would agree with me when I say that the exam was extremely difficult. I tried my best and I now know that I need to study more word roots as well as language patterns. We will find out the results of the exam tomorrow afternoon.
The highlight of the day was when 3 of my grandparents arrived to cheer me on! I hope you all will be able to watch Rounds 2 and 3 tomorrow on ESPN3. I am speller 93.