EATON — Eaton Community Schools seventh grade student Emma Upham competed in the regional spelling bee, held at Sinclair Community College, on Monday, March 12.
Upham had to take a test, also taken by roughly 100 other spelling bee winners, in order to compete with 14 other area students. Upham placed 10th out of 14, after being confused by the spelling of “molé.”
“I wanted to compete in the spelling bee because I’m good at it,” Upham said. “I won at the district level when I competed against the top two winners from the other Preble County schools. It was pretty cool, I got a trophy.
“I placed 10th in the regionals, which wasn’t that good, but I messed up on the word molé. Instead of an ‘ay’ at the end, it’s an ‘e.’ The competition was less crowded then I thought it would be. It was more of a small, enclosed room. They had a miniature stage with 14 other people. I was somewhat nervous competing.”
While this was the third time in a row that Upham won the district spelling bee, this year marked the first year she was able to compete at the regional competition.
“It was kind of nerve wracking to be competing for the first time. The winners of it had to spell some hard words, some of them had to of had photographic memory or something. They spelled crazy German words. They had to study 1,500 words and then they even went onto words that weren’t on the list, like 25 or something,” she said.
Her mother, Brenda Upham, added, “She was upset that molé was such a small word, when she spelled much longer, more complicated ones — but it was a hard competition. They had 100 school spelling bee champions who were eligible to take the qualifying test for the regionals. Out of the 100, only 14 qualified and got to move on.”
“Not only was there spelling on it, but there is vocabulary too,” Emma Upham added. “They had 50 questions, 25 spelling and 25 vocabulary. Some of the spelling words were simple and on the list, but as you got to the end they asked harder ones that weren’t on the list.”
Emma Upham hopes to compete in the spelling bee next year as well, although that is the last year she will be eligible, as after that she will be in high school.
“I find the competition fun, that is why I love to compete in spelling bees,” she said.
Brenda Upham added, “It is just as much of a competition as sports.”
“It is so cool to go up there, spell the words, and have people shocked that I can do that,” Emma Upham said. “I wish people understood how much you have to study for the regionals. I tried to put a lot of work and study time into the preparation.
“I don’t know if next year I can win the regionals, but I want to try. If you win, you get to go to Washington DC to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and that is a paid trip. That would be cool.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH