Schmitt spells her way to second place at stateSpelling comes naturally for St. Anne’s seventh-grader Shelly Schmitt. So, it’s no surprise that she placed second at the state Knights of Columbus Knowledge Bowl Spelling Contest on March 17 in Wisconsin Rapids.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
Spelling comes naturally for St. Anne’s seventh-grader Shelly Schmitt. So, it’s no surprise that she placed second at the state Knights of Columbus Knowledge Bowl Spelling Contest on March 17 in Wisconsin Rapids.
“I’ve always liked spelling, because it’s come pretty easily to me,” Schmitt said.
She said she enjoys being able to use and show off her spelling skill through the local and state-level competitions.
Though spelling comes easy to Schmitt, she practices a lot to prepare for her competitions.
“There’s not really a good way to prepare, since it could be any word out of the dictionary. But I just practice spelling words. I use practice lists and my brothers and sisters ask me words to spell and I just spell them,” she said.
It’s those preparation tactics that Schmitt says helped her do well at both her school and the regional and state level spelling competitions.
After placing third at the St. Anne’s Spelling Bee in the sixth- through eighth-grade category, Schmitt advanced to the Diocesan-level spelling bee, where she also placed third. This was the first year the Diocese incorporated the spelling bee, which was done orally.
At the Diocesan level in the Knights of Columbus Knowledge Bowl she placed first in her level and advanced to state where she finished second.
Schmitt said it was exciting making it to state and finishing so well.
“It’s a pretty big deal, since I’m competing against people from the Milwaukee and Madison Diocese where they have a lot more schools. I’m competing against a lot more people who have beat out a lot of other people,” Schmitt said.
She said competing against so many people made her a little nervous.
“At the spelling bee I was in front of a lot of people and that’s hard because when you’re nervous you can mix up words. But at the KC (Knights of Columbus) level it’s a written test so you are just in a room with other kids. But that can also make you nervous because you don’t know how good of a speller they (the other students) are, so you’re not really sure of the competition,” Schmitt said.
She said the most nerve wracking part of the entire spelling contest is having to wait.
“When you’re just standing there and they haven’t given you your word, (that’s nerve wracking) since you can get any word – you can get an easy word, you can get a really hard word. It’s just waiting for that word and waiting to see if you got it right or not,” she said.
Despite sometimes feeling nervous, Schmitt hopes to continue participating in spelling competitions.
She said she’ll continue practicing hundreds of words to prepare.
“I have a notebook that I keep filling with words and I just look at it on the way to the competitions and when I’m waiting,” she said.
She said she’s even learned new words at the competitions.
“What I like about the bees is that once you spell a word wrong, you always know that word forever,” she said. “I know that I’ll never forget how to spell cornucopia now. It’s c-o-r-n-u-c-o-p-i-a, with a ‘u’ and not an ‘a.’”
Schmitt’s advice for students wanting to do well in spelling competitions is: “Really know the words. Not only how to spell them, but what they mean and how to pronounce them, because that can really help you when spelling the word, finding the word and remembering it.”
• Fifth grade: Second place at Diocesan Knights of Columbus Knowledge Bowl level. She went to state but did not place.
• Sixth grade: First place Diocesan Knights of Columbus Knowledge Bowl level and second place at state.
• Seventh grade: Third place in school spelling bee sponsored by the Diocese of Superior, third place at the Diocesan level of the spelling bee, first place at the Diocesan level of the Knights of Columbus Knowledge Contest and second place at the state level.