Middle school students progress to the National Spelling Bee written semifinals on March 9th


All-School Spelling Bee champion eighth grader Kavi Stevick.

Michael Wafford, Staff Writer

On Monday, February 4th, eighth grader Kavi Stevick and seventh grader Gretchen Herzberg competed in the all-school spelling bee. Kavi was hailed the school champion and Herzberg the runner-up.

“I really wasn’t expecting it…It was a surprise for me when I was one of the last two people,” Herzberg said.

Herzberg and the “Kavi monster” as middle school English teacher Michelle Oyola describes her, are now going to progress to the National Written Semifinals in March.

“Kavi is our grand champion…She was provided with a list of 1150 words she is starting to dive through, but even then it’s like… it might be these words, or it might be anything else,” Oyola said, “But she’s the Kavi monster, and that’s what she does.”

The 1150 word list also contains words from Greek, French, and other origins that are used in English.

“It’s pretty daunting,“ Kavi said, “Learning new words isn’t that hard, but if I’ve been spelling a word wrong for a while, it messes me up.”

Preparing for the semifinals requires a lot of work and dedication, but this is not the end of the National Spelling Bee. After the written semi-finals, contestants move on to the Regional Finals, and eventually the Finals, which will be hosted in Washington DC and televised on ESPN.  

“It will definitely be more strict, there will be a lot more people watching, the words are going to be a lot harder, and there are going to be a lot of people there” Kavi said.

“I don’t think I’m going to do it next year, but it was a good experience,” Herzberg said.

The written semi-final takes place at McKendree University on March 9th, 2019.