2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee – The Journey Ends

The best part of Bee Week is reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America.

Hello everyone!

Bee Week 2018 has officially come to an end and I’ve had a few days to reflect upon my experiences over the last six years. I first qualified for the Bee when I was seven years old so I’ve been involved with this event for nearly half my life!

My goal every year has been to increase my knowledge and improve my ranking and I am proud to say that I have achieved that. This year, I was named a Championship Finalist and tied for 10th place. I may not have won the National Spelling Bee, but sometimes it’s not the result that matters as much as the process. I’ve not only learned words that will stay with me for the rest of my life, I’ve also learned the value of persistence, hard work, and resilience. All of these lessons will help me succeed in the next phase of my life.

Thank you to everyone who supported me during my journey especially my parents, who devoted so much time and energy to help me reach my goals. Thank you to my sister Anya for her patience and love, and thank you to Coco for always making me smile with her antics and distinct duende.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Scott Remer, a former National Spelling Bee participant and the author of Words of Wisdom, who coached me this last year and kept things in perspective for me.

Please check back for more photos in the upcoming weeks!

 

 

2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee – Opening Ceremony

2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee Opening Ceremony.

Hello everyone!

Tonight the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee officially kicked off with the Bee’s Opening Ceremony! I was honored to be a part of this year’s ceremony as a representative of one of the seven core values of the Bee – inspiring growth. Other values include purpose, achievement, entertainment, potential, discovery, and heritage. During the ceremony, Dr. Bailly, the official pronouncer of the Bee, highlighted the fact that my blogging was inspiring others to grow in their knowledge as I have grown during my five year journey at the Bee. Indeed, that was my hope for this blog and I hope I have succeeded in that endeavor.

Over the past three years, I have written about my Bee experiences in my Insider’s Guide to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. However, this year I have decided to forego this tradition and simply enjoy my last time at the Bee (I’m an 8th grader and will no longer be able to compete after this year).

The National Spelling Bee is a great event and I hope you all get a chance to watch it this year; my speller number is 133! If you are competing in the Bee this year, good luck!

Additional information and broadcasting schedule can be found on http://www.spellingbee.com.

Bluegrass Literacy Project

Hello everyone! I haven’t posted in a while and I wanted to give you all an update.

Last fall, I submitted a project proposal to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development to be a part of their Young Scholars Ambassador Program (YSAP). This program “fosters civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership” (from the Davidson Institute website).

In December, I found out that I had been accepted into the Class of 2019 Young Scholar Ambassadors. For the next 18 months, I will be working to develop and implement my project, which I’ve named the Bluegrass Literacy Project. Through my project, I hope to continue to share my love of words and make a positive and lasting impact in my community. You can read more about my project here.

I’m really excited about this opportunity, but unfortunately it also means that I may not be posting as much as I would like on this blog. However, I will do my best to continue posting interesting words as time permits. Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

 

 

Name That Animal: Challenge #7 (Halloween Edition)

If you see this creature on Halloween, beware, it is deadly. (image via www.topito.com)

I say goodbye to my friends after a successful night of trick-or-treating. I am suddenly aware of how long I’ve been out and look for short cut home. The crescent moon shines weakly as I see a familiar-looking alley way that I immediately turn into. My boots click on the uneven, old, brick pathway. The night is eerily silent and acherontic, save the wind howling around me. It feels as if the temperature has plummeted sharply and I shiver. I start walking faster and feel a sense of relief when I reach the warm safety of home.

As I reach for the doorknob, I feel a burning sensation pierce the back of my hand. A  mephitic odor diffuses through the stygian darkness. I look down and see a spider – no,  not a spider, but a terrifying spider-like creature quickly skittering away. I hastily snatch up my phone and with trembling hands, manage to capture an image of this crazy creature.

For the next several hours, I feel odd and queasy. I wake up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache and decide that I need to go to the emergency room. As I get ready, I walk past my window and something draws my attention. I gaze at the reflection, and I see two bright yellow eyes peering back at me.

I am admitted to the hospital with an unknown condition, most likely caused by the bite of the bizarre creature. I try to tell the doctors that the culprit looks like a cross between a strigiform and an araneiform, but they simply stare at me quizzically, and blame the bite for my deluded state. Help me name the heinous creature that has cursed me.

Greek:

arachno-                                             spider

-pod-                                                    foot

xantho-                                               yellow

brunne-                                              brown

-morph-                                             shape, form

dasy-                                                   shaggy, woolly

octo-                                                    eight

-soma, somato-                                 body

-ops, opto-                                          eye

nyct-                                                    night

-haema, haemato-                            blood

Latin:

=strix                                                owl

strigi-                                                owl

-iform                                               in the shape of

fasciat-                                             banded

vittat-                                               striped

flav-                                                  yellow

hirsut-                                              hairy

aranei-                                             spider

oculi-, -oculus                                 eye

noct-, nocti-                                    night

sanguini-                                         blood

 

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out  Name That Animal Challenge #1, Name That Animal Challenge #2, Name That Animal Challenge #3, Name That Animal Challenge #4Name That Animal Challenge #5, and Name That Animal Challenge #6.

 

 

 

homonyms (hä-mə-nims)

homonymsThe English language is full of homonyms, or more specifically homographs, homophones, heterographs, and heteronyms. This is enough to make your head spin! Such words serve to make English one of the most difficult languages to learn. They are the bane of my existence, and probably yours too.

Homonyms are words that are pronounced the same or have the same spelling but have different definitions. The word homonym comes from the Greek roots homo- meaning same and -nym meaning name.  Homographs and homophones are a subset of homonyms.

Homographs are words that have the same spelling, but have different meanings. The Greek root -graph- means to write, so homograph can be translated into “same writing.” An example would be “bat” (animal) and “bat” (baseball bat).

Heteronyms are a class of homographs. The Greek root hetero- means other or different so heteronyms are words  with “different names.” They share the same spelling, but have different pronunciations and meanings. An example is “minute” (time unit) and “minute” (pronounced mīn.yüt – meaning very small).

Homophones are words that sound the same but are defined differently. Homophones literally mean “same sound” (-phon is the Greek root for sound). If the homophones are spelled the same, they are also homographs but if they are spelled differently, they are called heterographs.

Heterographs are words that have “different writing”. They have the same pronunciation, but different spellings and definitions. “Knight” (soldier) and “night” (evening) are examples of heterographs.

For the next several posts, I’d like to delve further into this category of English words. To help me explore this topic, I’ve enlisted the help of some of my fellow National Spelling Bee participants who have volunteered to write about a pair of words that they find to be particularly irksome.

Are there any homonyms that always manage to trick you?

 

 

 

 

 

Name That Animal: Challenge #6

What would you name this mysterious creature? (Image from pinterest)

It’s time for a Name that Animal Challenge, so here’s Challenge #6!

Pretend that you are a scientist and you have just discovered this new species and you have the privilege of naming it. Scientists usually name new species by using Greek or/and Latin roots because the prefixes, stems, and suffixes are just like building blocks that you can utilize in countless ways.

Your challenge is to name the strange animal in the picture above using your knowledge of Greek and Latin roots. Keep in mind that you can use characteristics like size, color, or shape to name this animal. Feel free to search my blog to find root words to help you or use the list below!

Greek:

lago-                                                 hare

ornitho-                                           bird

cephal-                                            head

-cephalic                                         head

-cephaly                                          head

-pter-                                               wing

phag-                                                eat

-phyll-                                                leaf

Latin:

lepor-                                                hare

-corp-                                                body

cunic-                                               hare

-capit-                                               head

ali-, al-                                              wing

avi-, av-                                            bird

I came up with lagcephalopter. The letter “o” is the most common way to link Greek roots, and the letter “i” is used to link Latin roots. However, you can do whatever you like and enjoy!

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out  Name That Animal Challenge #1, Name That Animal Challenge #2, Name That Animal Challenge #3, Name That Animal Challenge #4, and Name That Animal Challenge #5.

Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee

I am excited to announce that I will be writing another Insider’s Guide to the Scripps National Spelling Bee! In March, I won the regional bee sponsored by the Louisville Spelling Bee Collaborative to qualify for the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.  I am looking forward to returning to Washington D.C. for the fourth time to compete at the national level.

For the last two years, I have written a series of posts detailing Bee Week and my personal experience and I would love to do the same this year. I hope you all enjoy reading my Insider’s Guide to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

This year, there will be 291 spellers from across the United States and abroad competing at the National Spelling Bee; I am speller #207.

If you would like to read about past National Spelling Bees, search Insider’s Guide on this blog.