“The way it sounds – the certain way you spell words – in different origins, you spell them differently,” said Vanessa Quintero. “That’s how I remember different words.”
The eighth-grader from Sierra Vista Junior High School is heading to the regional county level of the National Scripps Spelling Bee. It’s a feat only 89 out of 19,454 of her peers have achieved in Los Angeles County.
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Asked to spell “committee,” Quintero rolled off the consecutive letters with ease.
This is Quintero’s first spelling competition. After moving on from the classroom level, she faced more than 30 students in the finals at her school and won.
Now it’s time for the regionals, where on February 26 at Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, 21 different school districts will be represented, including 39 public, 24 private and 16 parochial schools.
“I was watching TV and they were interviewing kids at regionals and I saw the words that they were doing and they were really big and hard,” she said.
Only one student will advance from the county regionals to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Although Quintero understands the words will get tougher to spell, she refuses to get nervous. She’s never even watched a spelling bee on television.
“I don’t really get nervous because when people get nervous they tend to mess up, so I try not to be. I take a deep breath and just spell it.”