After months--sometimes years--of studying, 281 spellers are set for the National Spelling bee in suburban Washington, D C. The preliminaries start on Tuesday.
Alaina Kenny, an 8th grader at Onondaga Hill Middle School, won the Syracuse Regional Bee back in February, and is making her first trip to the finals. She's won her school bee for four years, so she was no stranger to studying words that she admits she'll probably never see or use again.
Kenny, with the help of her parents, learned the origin, meaning and pronounciation, as well as the spelling of about 15-thousand words provided by the bee, and also used flash cards and other lists of words.
Despite intensive studying, Kenny also runs track daily (with the Section 3 championship Westhill/Ludden team) and plays piano and flute, including for her school.
The other Central New Yorkers in the competiton are 7th grader Gavin Buehler, from Williamson (the Geneva area); 8th grader Buddy Noorlander, from Oneonta, 7th grader David Simeon Khamis, from Oswego, and seventh grader Dylan O'Connor from Alexandria Bay (the Watertown area). O'Connor has been to nationals 3 times.
You can read about all the spellers, and follow the bee as it gets going on Tuesday.