Name: Lizzie Lucas
Why did you start spelling? I watched Akeelah and the Bee when I was little and was super inspired, I used to ask my mom to ask me spelling words in the car! I never knew that I could do anything with my love for words until 7th grade when I could compete in my school bee for the first time, and I was hooked. Just a little nerdy childhood hobby became something so incredible!
Which Scripps bees did you participate in? Regionals 2015 and 2016, NSB 2016
What was/were your losing word(s)? n the National Bee, I spelled both of my onstage words correctly, my test score was just slightly too low for the finals cutoff. In 7th grade, though, I got out on “dugong” in my regional. (I still hold that there was a pronunciation error, haha!)
How did you calm your nerves while participating? I would trace the word on my hand, and also try to avoid thinking too much about feeling pressure. I found that focusing too much on the bee itself would make me even more scared, so I would look at other things in the room or find other topics to distract myself while waiting to spell.
How did you study? I obviously used the word lists that Scripps provided, and I also studied lists online. My favorite tool that I used was the “Words of Wisdom” book by Scott Remer, which I know is popular among spellers!
Did you enjoy your time at the Bee Week(s), if so what did you enjoy the most? I loved my time there! It was so amazing to feel like a “spellebrity” for a week and to get to know so many amazing kids. I never expected to make friendships that would last this long and would mean so much to me. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world! My favorite part was probably the Farewell Party, because not only did I get to spend quality time with the friends I had already made, I got to meet so many new spellers as well! It was a time, after a week that definitely was stressful for many of us, to just celebrate each other and what we had accomplished.
If any, what advice would you give to aspiring spellers? Don’t give up! We all have moments where it doesn’t seem worth it or it seems too difficult, but there is no greater feeling than finally achieving what you’ve been working for. If you really are passionate and you really want to make it to D.C., you absolutely can! Have fun with it as well, because taking life too seriously is never a good thing. Good luck and always feel free to reach out to someone in the speller community if you need help!