Cream of the crop in Missouri’s spelling world preps for national stage (LISTEN)

by | May 23, 2022 | Education, Featured Interviews, News, Show Me Today

Eight Missouri spelling whiz kids are putting their game faces on for the Super Bowl of spelling. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is in Washington, D.C. May 31 through June 2.

Missouri’s participants are from Columbia, Peculiar, Rolla, Independence, Park Hill, St. Joseph, Poplar Bluff and St. Louis.

Aanya Shetty

“G-Y-P-S-U-M, Gypsum,” said Aanya Shetty, of John Warner Middle School in Columbia. That’s the word she correctly spelled to punch her ticket to the national competition.

Shetty said she had the basic idea of how to spell the word.

“I’ve seen the word around in science class because it’s a mineral,” she said. “I kind of knew the word and I’ve seen it before in textbooks.”

Shetty said her gift of spelling runs in the family.

“I read a lot of books when I was in fourth and fifth grade,” she said. “I like made it my goal to read at least a book a day to really get words in my head. And also, I watched a spelling bee on TV for a few years prior to that. And as you know, my sister also participated in the spelling bees.”

Shetty’s older sister, Jiya, made it to nationals last year, after a lengthy spelling battle with Aanya.

Shetty said she has a spelling strategy heading to the national stage.

“I try to focus on the roots of the words and different versions of the same word and endings of the words like prefixes and suffixes,” she said. “I need to know how to spell those because if I get the base word right, I still need to know how to spell what’s after and before it, and also the roots of the words. So, it’ll help me in the vocabulary round and the spelling round because if I learned what the root means and how to spell it, I can connect the words together.”

In a warm-up round with Missourinet, Shetty was 2-2, spelling correctly the words “beeswax” and “lackadaisical”.

Antonia Antov

Antonia Antov, of Peculiar, correctly spelled the word “Iceberg” to move to the national stage.

“Iceberg. I-C-E-B-E-R-G. It’s a lot of ice,” said Antov.

She’s going into the competition with a cool and calm attitude.

“Mostly I’m just excited to be there and see everyone else who’s there – and see how many I can spell right before getting the word wrong,” Antov chuckled.

She talks about how she feels going into the bee, compared to another activity she enjoys – running.

“It’s a little different because you don’t know exactly what you’re going to be doing. You just have to kind of prepare for everything and anything when you’re going to a spelling bee. But with running, you know exactly what you’re going to do when you sign up for the events,” she said.

In her warm-up round with Missourinet, Antov also breezed through the spelling of two words – “beeswax” and “stenographer”.

To hear Shetty’s Show Me Today interview, click below (13:41):

To hear Antov’s Show Me Today interview, click below (6:24):

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