Claire May, a seventh grade student in Kodiak Middle School, was the winner of the district-wide spelling bee. The winning word? Calamitous.
There were no calamities for May, who will travel to Anchorage next month to compete in the State Spelling Bee.
For May, this was a feat of perseverance and determination. She was a runner-up in the district last year but came back this year more determined than ever. She prepared with her mom, Susan, who called out words to her from a 4,000-word list. When May didn’t know a word, she would write it down.
“She is naturally a good speller,” Susan said. “Throughout elementary school, she never got anything but 100 on a spelling test.”
May’s favorite subject in school is reading. When she grows up, she hopes to be either a nurse or a veterinarian. Before that, she hopes to win a few more spelling bees.
“I’m hoping to be a three-year champion,” she said.
May’s advice for aspiring spelling champions is to “keep trying” and “study as much as you can.”
Other competitors included the top two spellers in each of the district’s elementary schools, the middle school, homeschooled students and spellers from the region’s rural schools. Runner up was fifth grader Leila Fernandez of Main Elementary.