A local middle school student had the opportunity of a lifetime when she traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Wapakoneta Middle School sixth-grader LeeAnn Jose took her fifth trip to the nation’s capital last week to compete for the first time at the national level of the spelling bee competition.
“It was fun,” Jose said, “and exhilarating.”
Jose recently returned home last Saturday, just in time to enjoy her last week of school before summertime.
During her stay in Washington, D.C., not only did Jose get to compete, but she also got to tour the city with other spelling bee contestants.
She toured many of Washington, D.C.’s monuments, but she said her favorite was the Lincoln Memorial.
“We’ve never been there before, but we would alway go by it,” Jose said. “This was my first time seeing it up close.
“The best part (of the trip) was walking around D.C.,” she said, “and it was special this time because I got to compete.”
In previous years, Jose’s older brothers, George and Joey, also competed at the national level of the spelling bee in Washington, D.C., in which Jose attended to watch them.
George, who is a freshman, went to Washington, D.C. three times to compete, and Joey, a junior, went once.
Jose said she receives a lot of support from her brothers, who helped her study and prepare for the spellings bees that she competes in.
“My brothers were happy,” Jose said, referring to how well she did at the spelling bee. “I studied 1-2 hours a day.”
Jose qualified for the National Spelling Bee after winning the Wapakoneta Middle School Spelling Bee in February, and winning the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee at Rhodes State College in March.
At the National Spelling Bee, Jose did not qualify for the semifinals, but did make it up to the third round. During round three, Jose scored a 25 during the written round, but she needed a 29 to compete in the semifinals.
Jose said she was proud of her accomplishments, because she was a part of the 275 people across the country to compete at the national event.
“It felt good to be doing that,” Jose said.
She said her experience there this year was well worth it.
“I think it was worth it to see other kids are working hard, too,” Jose said, of her overall experience. “It was worth it in the end.”
This experience allowed her to meet 275 other contestants who competed alongside her.
Jose said she would like to go back to the national contest next year.