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In fact, this is Tuli’s second attempt at getting to the national championship, but last year she placed second at the D.C. bee.

“The second time, I thought maybe if I worked hard, this year I would actually try to win,” Tuli said.

Tuli has been studying regularly since she won her school’s bee, drawing from study sheets provided by the national bee, as well as the massive Merriam-Webster dictionary that sits in the middle of her living room table.

Like many of the spellers, Tuli said she has her own routine for spelling a word. She considers the language of origin and definition and sometimes writes the word out on her hand or in the air.

“We’re big book people. We love words and books,” Mrs. Bose said, calling Tuli’s visit to the national stage “a culmination of her love of words.”

“She’s a shy girl and it’s really exciting to see her get up on stage and not be nervous. It’s a great thing,” she said. “She’s growing up.”

Looking ahead at the next few days, Tuli said she has mixed feelings about her one shot at spelling glory.

“Sometimes I just want to get it over with, but sometimes I want to be able to try again.”

Even if she doesn’t win, there’s still a chance a Bennett-Rose could take the title in a few years.

In between bounding and skipping about the house last week, Tuli’s 7-year-old sister, Koli, proudly announced that she’d never scored lower than a nine out of 10 on her spelling tests.

Over the weekend, she also joined a spelling practice session with her sister.

The word she spelled correctly?