Last year, I left the Washington Informer Spelling Bee with a second-place trophy and an inspiration to win first place in the future. It was my first spelling year in the US, and I was surprised that I had made it close to the top. (In 2010, I had come first in the Paris Spelling Bee.) I was up against Donovan Jordan in the Washington Informer Spelling Bee in 2011. We went back and forth for over 10 rounds. When I misspelled "sassafras," a word that I had seen before and that was on the list, I was a little frustrated but still excited to have made it to second place. I realized that there was a chance for me for me to come first if I studied and tried again.
During this last year, I collected hard words, read lots of books, and had my parents and friends drill me on my word lists until I knew them well. Unlike the year before, this year I felt I had a chance to win, so I studied more seriously. Still, once I saw how good the other spellers were this year I didn't think I was likely to win first place. When I did win, I was joyful, shocked, and nervous at the same time. I couldn't believe that I was actually going to the National Bee! Although I'm scared about the National Bee coming up at the end of May, it will be amazing to be there. I'm excited to meet all the other spellers from around the country and the world. Spelling has been an overall great experience for me.