Local bee champs ready to S-P-E-L-L
The 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee starts today at the National Harbor, and three Southern Maryland middle school students are set to compete. Along with their proud parents, spelling coaches and teachers, the Maryland Independent encourages the local community to become “spelling cheerleaders” for our region’s champion spellers — seventh-grader Anna Kleist of Plum Point Middle, eighth-grader Nicholas Gallagos of John Hanson Middle and eighth-grader Mark Beaulieu of Spring Ridge Middle — as they face off against some of the brightest students in the country this week.
Throughout today and tomorrow, 285 spellers will compete for the title of national spelling bee champion, and the public is invited to watch and root for their local spellers as the bee is broadcast live. Preliminaries, including a spelling test and two rounds of competition, start at 8 a.m. today and will be streamed live on ESPN3. Finals will be live on ESPN2 at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 26, and will continue again at 8 p.m. live on ESPN.
Many competitors will not move past the preliminaries, but the fact that they even made it this far speaks volumes to their skills, smarts and dedication. Their journeys to this point are nothing short of remarkable:
Calvert County’s Kleist triumphed after a local record-breaking 16 rounds of spelling at the county bee in March. She managed to hold her own for five of those rounds against another fierce competitor, between the two of them spelling words like “inselberg,” “eiderdown” and “springbok.” Gallagos, of Charles County, won his county’s bee with the word “azimuth”; his coach said he rarely misspells a word, and his mother shared that he taught himself to read at age 4. And Beaulieu, of St. Mary’s County, will return to the national bee for the second time, after coming out on top in his county’s bee for the past two years.
Without a doubt, these are brilliant Southern Maryland students who have earned their place on the national stage. Whatever this week brings for each of them, we already count them as winners. Today and tomorrow, we eagerly cheer them on, and we invite the community to join us in showing support for our hardworking and talented tri-county spellers.