The National Bee should be more precisely called an International Spelling Bee, as 293 students from around the world gathered for the culminating event of a massive international competition. More than eleven million students are involved in the initial round of spelling bees.
After advancing through local, district and regional competition, Simpson was on her way to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national event. The early rounds are televised on ESPN, and the final round is broadcast on ABC.
Kira correctly spelled intricate and anastrophe in the preliminary rounds. In addition to the live rounds, she was also asked to spell 50 words during a written spelling test earlier in the week.
Despite her success in the two rounds in front of a microphone and live audience, a few misspelled words on the written test kept Kira from advancing with 40 other semifinalists to the next round.
After the preliminary rounds, the group was pared until Kavya Shivashankar, an eighth grade student from Olathe, KS, was named the winner. She correctly spelled Laodicean to take the top prize.
Kira’s first trip to the national spelling bee left her anxious to return. Kira’s mom and spelling coach, Georgiana Simpson, reports that the preparations are already beginning. While she is not yet back to the three to seven hours of spelling practice every day that marked her past few months, Kira is already eyeing the 2010 Bee.
Kira has always shown an interest in language and learning, according to her parents. She burst onto the local “spelling scene” in 2006, when she won the district spelling bee. Despite being only eight years old at the time (most fourth grade students are nine or ten), Kira’s win as a fourth grade student came on her first year of eligibility for the district bee.
Her trip was sponsored by the Southeast Education Service Center, with assistance from the San Juan School District Education Foundation.
Kira is the daughter of Georgiana and Steve Simpson of Bluff.