Carmen '25 advances to Virginia Media/WHRO Public Media Spelling Bee

As with most things in 2020-21, this year’s middle school spelling bee gave our students a chance to show their prowess in the virtual arena. Twenty-two of Norfolk Collegiate’s Grades 6, 7 and 8 students participated in the annual spelling bee this month using the bee’s new online testing platform. Through the online system, virtual and in-person learners were able to participate in the bee as long as they had a web-compatible device. 

“The new platform ensured we could host a competition and name a champion under any circumstance,” said English Teacher Chrisy Cooper. 

Students had 20 minutes to correctly answer up to 25 words. 

“Students were able to listen to the pronunciation of each word, and they were also given the definition and origin of the word. Then, they were required to type in the correct spelling of the word,” said Cooper. 
Due to the format, there was not a winning word this year; however, students were required to spell both list and non-list words, such as assuage, nidulant, camalote and unprepossessing.

Carmen G. ’25 took first place with 22 words spelled correctly. Bethuel T. ’27 took second place with 21 words spelled correctly. And third place was a three-way tie between Gavin W. ’26, Diamond S. ’27 and David S. ’26 with 20 words spelled correctly.

Carmen, who also placed second in the 2019 spelling bee and third in last year’s spelling bee, now advances to the Virginia Media/WHRO Public Media Spelling Bee scheduled for Feb. 13. 

“In my opinion, Carmen has an excellent chance of winning and going on to represent Norfolk Collegiate in the national spelling bee,” said Cooper.

For Carmen and Bethuel, the online format was preferred. 

“I really liked the virtual spelling bee this year,” said Carmen. “Unlike past competitions, it was way less nerve-racking! Instead of standing on a stage in front of peers and teachers, I was in my own headspace, and I believe that affected my results a lot!”

Bethuel agreed. “My spelling bee experience was great even though it was virtual. I felt less anxious and focused on getting the words spelled correctly.”

As for Carmen, she studied for 30-40 minutes daily in preparation for the event and credits her mom for her support. 

“If I felt like I needed to see what words I was having trouble remembering, I would ask my mom for help and she would give me a little spelling bee, too,” said Carmen of her mom’s assistance. “She was a big part of preparing [me] for the competition, and I’m so grateful that I had a supportive person willing to help me whenever she could.”

Carmen’s also looking forward to the next round of the competition.

“I’m most looking forward to seeing how many words and rounds I will make it through,” said Carmen of the upcoming competition. “While I know everyone there is my opponent, I am honored to represent my school and stand against students who have made it so far! Regardless of the outcome next month, I know I’ll be proud of myself and everyone participating in it.”  

Good luck, Carmen!


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