Simola Nayak knew how to spell “cisele,” but stumbled on the word for an Irish irregular soldier or bandit. The 13-year-old DeKalb County girl fell out of the semifinal Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships today when she misspelled “rapparee,” in use since 1690, according to Merriam-Webster.com. She “did DeKalb proud,” school system officials said on their official Twitter feed.
Simola, who just finished eighth grade at Henderson Middle School, was carrying the weight of the state on her shoulders. Officials, including U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and U.S. Rep Jack Kingston wished her well on their own Twitter feeds. In March, she correctly spelled “tautologous” to win the 51st annual Georgia Association of Educators State Spelling Bee. That victory earned her an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. this week to compete in the national event.
Here is the note this morning from DeKalb Schools about its champion speller Simola Nayak, who sounds like a heck of a student and human being:
DeKalb Schools student and Georgia State Spelling Bee Champion Simola Nayak will compete today in the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The event will be covered throughout the day on ESPN beginning at 10 a.m.
Click here to watch or to see a schedule of ESPN broadcasts. Regular updates will also be provided on the DeKalb Schools Twitter feed at Twitter.com/DeKalbSchools
Updates are also available by following the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Facebook www.facebook.com/scrippsnationalspellingbee or on Twitter at Twitter.com/ScrippsBee.
Simola recently completed the eighth grade at Henderson Middle School. She won the DeKalb County School District Spelling Bee in February and the Georgia State Spelling Bee in March. She prepared for her competitions by studying words and vocabulary from previous spelling bees and reading books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. She also enlisted help from her family, who quizzed her daily on different words.
Simola won a $1,000 as State Spelling Bee champ, money she donated to a student at her school.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog