Updated 05/10/2012 07:39 PM
H.W. Smith student heading to National Spelling Bee
One Syracuse seventh grader will face off against 278 kids from across the country in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Emily Carello is a Syracuse City School District Student at H.W. Smith. As our Katie Gibas reports, she's down to her final weeks of preparation for the competition.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Emily Carello started reading chapter books when she was six. She started spelling competitively when she was in fourth grade. She practices an hour or two every night and longer on weekends.
"All together, there's like 20,000 words I have to know. It's kind of difficult just to concentrate on the words because some are really unexciting and you're never going to use them. The technical term for pudding is like eight syllables long and it's Latin," said Carello.
Despite a lot of boring words, she says some are simply fascinating.
"The word cwm. It's only got three letters and it means a lake on the side of a mountain. And it's Welsh and it's spelled c-w-m. So I kind of love that word just for its spelling," said Carello.
Carello’s hard work is paying off. She's been to the regional spelling bee four times. In this year's competition, she beat out 36 contestants from five counties. And at the end of the month, she will be representing Central New York in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
"It makes me feel really good to know I beat all these really good spellers," said Carello.
Theresa Szpak, her English teacher, added, "It's hard work and dedication. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. If you're hard working and dedicated and you spend the time that goes into it, you can do it. It doesn't matter who you are. And Emily is a good example of that."
The National Spelling Bee was started in 1925. And after an Internet search, the only reference, besides Carello, that we can find of a Syracuse City School District student going to Nationals is in 1947.
"It's a breath of fresh air. We need that. We need that as a school. We need it as a city. And we need it as a state. It's very exciting. I think it's going to put us on the map. Right now, just to know that she's going from here is very exciting. But if she becomes a national winner, that would be right over the top. That would be very exciting for our school," said Szpak.
Carello has a couple weeks to continue studying before she faces off against 278 kids from across the country.
The only person to ever win the National Spelling Bee from the Syracuse area was Tim Kneale in 1976. He was an eighth grader at Walter Wheeler Middle School in the Onondaga Central School District. He is the first and one of only two winners from New York State.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee runs May 29th through the 31st.