Three years ago, when I was in 5th grade, I competed in my first spelling bee. I had been given a list of words a week ago but I had forgotten to study them. I ended up winning that competition with the word "leotard".

That year, at the area spelling bee, I was out in the second round on the word "punctual". Afterwards, I convinced my dad that I was going to go to the state spelling bee next year as a sixth grader. He challenged me to it and I studied all summer.

The next year, at the area spelling bee, I placed 5th out of about 70 kids. I was really disappointed because only the top 4 places get to go to state. Once again I studied all summer and it paid off.

Last year at the area spelling bee, when I was in 7th grade, I placed 2nd out of 100 kids, and best of all it was my 13th birthday. I was thrilled! I had basically been studying for 3 straight years and I was going to compete to be the best speller in my state for it. At the area bee I had to spell words like: "quadrilingual", "cathedral", "centurion", "disconsolate", "martyr" and others.

When I went to the state spelling bee in March, I spelled words like: "nonagesimal", "calash", "instantaneous", "incriminating", "rhododendron", "Armageddon", "Kabuki", "grissino", "Breton", "viscera" and many others. I ended up placing 5th at state, meaning that for one year I was the 5th best speller in the state and I broke a new school records along with it. I was really disappointed that I hadn't gone to Nationals, but then I thought about it and said, "Who can say that they're the 5th best speller in their state and have it be true?"

I had accomplished a lot even though I was hoping for more. I remembered something my dad told me once when he was helping me study. This was after we had finished and I had done pretty well overall missing about 5 out of 50 words (that's not an A+ but when your spelling words like "sesquicentennial" and "chrysanthemum" that's good).

Anyway, I said that I thought I had done pretty good and my dad said you did well and you only missed a few words but all you have to miss at state is one (1) and you're done.

I'm now in the 8th grade; I'm a straight A student. I play sports and I'm in a lot of extra curricular activities, but yet I find time to study at least 2 hours a day. This is the last year I am eligible to compete because of my age and I am working hard to make it to Nationals.

So if you're someone that competes in spelling competitions, geography bee, etc., just remember that in spelling competitions, 10 million students start at the local level. By the time you get to state, you're down to about 5,000.

Sent in by Anonymous B., Age 13 --- Iowa