- Associated Press - Monday, May 26, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The city of Lafayette will have a local student to cheer when 12-year-old Amelia Hebert competes in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

The Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/1lX8HEe) Hebert is a sixth-grade student at Cathedral-Carmel School and is among Louisiana’s five representatives competing in the bee beginning Tuesday. A total of 281 students from the 50 states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other locations will compete.

The other Louisiana students are: Navya Murugesan of Hammond; Chloe LaFleur of Monroe; Peter Antony Davis of New Orleans and Mary Wynne of Shreveport.

“I was shocked,” Hebert said, when she learned that her victory in the local bee, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, had earned her a trip to compete on the national stage.

“Since she’s earned the opportunity, we’ve learned that it’s quite a feat,” said Amelia’s mother, Allyson Hebert. “When you think about the fact that there’s about 11 million kids who compete in bees, starting at the school level, and then just 280 make it to the nationals, that’s quite impressive for her to even make it this far.”

Amelia Hebert said spelling has always come easily to her, and she felt she did well in the Lafayette bee because of her preparation. She has been spending an hour each weekday - and more on weekends - studying word lists on the national bee website and taking practice tests.

She said she has also talked with Damien Handy Jr., who represented Lafayette at last year’s national bee.

“He gave me some tips,” Hebert said. “He told me to just be ready and study the word lists, and think about it before I spell them.”

The 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee begins with preliminary computer-based testing. The second and third preliminary rounds are Wednesday followed by Thursday’s semifinals and championship rounds.

The spellers range in age from 8 to 15 years old, but most are between the ages of 12 and 14. Hussain Godhrawala of Barnwell, South Carolina, is the youngest speller in the competition at age 8.

Two spellers, Vanya Shivashankar and Ashwin Veeramani, have siblings who have previously won the Scripps National Spelling Bee.


Information from: The Advertiser, https://www.theadvertiser.com

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