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The lights shining down on the Boswell High School stage were getting hot. It could have been the intensity of the moment, too. After 13 rounds of spelling at the Area 12 Regional Spelling Bee, it all came down to this one word for Ankit Paudel, a fourth-grade student at Chisholm Ridge Elementary School.
To be one of the two final contestants was impressive alone. The bee included students from third through eighth grade, winners of their school spelling bees in EMS, Azle, Castleberry, Lake Worth and White Settlement ISDs.
“I felt nervous at the very beginning because there were 39 competitors and I knew only one could lift the trophy,” Paudel said. “The competition was really fierce.”
He was not here by accident, though. After not winning the Chisholm Ridge Spelling Bee last year, Paudel set his sights on improving for this year.
“I was overconfident last year,” he said. “This year I really tried my best to maintain my confidence.”
That, and a lot of practice with his dad at home, plus developing a strategy for success.
“My dad suggested I ask for the pronunciation and definition of the word,” Paudel said. “This would allow me to think about the word and also make sure I was spelling the correct word.”
Developing strategies, along with being able to stand in front of a crowd and compete, are what make the spelling bee about much more than just spelling excellence.
“The spelling bee builds self-confidence, communication skills, public speaking skills and a sense of competitiveness while fostering a culture of outstanding sportsmanship,” said Laura Hrabal, the EMS ISD Pre K-5th Literacy Specialist and Spelling Bee organizer. “This year’s participants were very impressive with their ability to spell words and truly understand how words work.”
When the final word was called, under the hot lights, with nerves building, Paudel stuck to his strategy. He asked for the pronunciation and definition, thought about it, took his time, and correctly spelled Zoolatry.
Now, he is moving on to the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee at Texas Christian University on Tuesday, March 7.
“This is the first time I’ve been to a regional spelling bee and the first time I’ve visited TCU, so it will be two firsts in my life,” Paudel said. “Win or lose, I will still be impressed with myself for how much grit I have.”
Congratulations to each of the students who participated in the Area 12 Spelling Bee, including runner up Cynthia Le, a fourth-grade student at Elkins Elementary School. We are #EMSproud!
Congratulations to Ankit Paudel, who finished as the runner up in the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee held on March 7, 2023 at TCU.