Say the word, spell it, then say it again: this is the mantra for all participants in the Charlotte Central School Scripps Spelling Bee. It’s a simple directive, but add an audience, a microphone, nerves, and fierce competition, and it becomes more intense than any sporting event you’ve ever seen. After three rounds with not a student making a mistake, you could tell it was going to be a fierce one.
Julia Lollis, grade four, who, during a practice session, kept asking for harder words because they were all too easy for her, won the school-wide bee. She beat 18 other students from grades three through 8. She goes on to the regional competition in Vermont this month.