By correctly spelling “insidious” and “flamboyant,” Rachael Cundey earned her fourth consecutive win Saturday at the 2012 local qualifying spelling bee for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Rachael, a seventh-grader at Lakeside Middle School, correctly spelled 15 words to win. Second place was Larisa Crowder, a home-school student from Aiken, who stumbled over the Greek-origin word “periphery.”
Alyssa Carrad, a 12-year-old from Westminster Schools of Augusta, mistook an “e” for an “i” in the word “homogeneous” during the 11th round. Alyssa placed third.
Fifteen elementary and middle school students competed in the bee sponsored by The Augusta Chronicle and held in the Morris Auditorium. The bee lasted about 50 minutes.
After all spellers advanced past the first round, nine were eliminated in the next four rounds. Five girls remained and did not misspell a word until round nine.
Rachael quickly spelled her words without hesitation. Every word was on a vocabulary list she studied daily.
Participating in spelling bees becomes easier each time, she said.
“I’m always a little nervous, but I was more comfortable this time than I have been before,” she said. “I think I’m just used to it now.”
To prepare, she studied Latin and Greek roots in aiddition to spelling patterns. Rachael studies for three to four hours on a weekend day and one hour after school days.
Rachael’s mother, Tammy Cundey, said Saturday’s bee was a great competition with six spellers returning from last year’s local qualifying bee.
“We knew they had the experience from last year, so we knew things might be tougher,” Cundey said.
Rachael said she might take one day off from studying and practicing, but then it’s back to the books to prepare for the national spelling bee.
Rachael won an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national competition May 27 to June 1.