Mt. Gap Student Erin Howard Competes in National Spelling Bee (Updated)
Mt. Gap P-8 student Erin Howard recently won the Scripps Alabama State Spelling Bee, and is now going on to represent the state in the national competition for the second year in a row. Erin won the state competition, which had a total of 55 contestants, with the correct spelling of Sikhism. The National competition is taking Erin to Washington D.C., where she will compete against over two hundred other finalists.
While Erin would not be the first person from Alabama to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, she says she is still excited at the opportunity to be the second champion. The trip to Washington D.C. is a chance to meet spellers from all over the world, and Erin says she “loves the adrenaline of the spelling bee, it’s […] exhilarating and excruciating.” Erin also says she is grateful of the teachers at Mt. Gap, several of which came out to support her during the state competition, as well as the numerous students that sent her letters wishing good luck.
Speaking about the trip to Washington D.C., Mt. Gap Principal Heather Bardwell says that Erin “handles it all in stride […] and her parents help to keep her really grounded.” Erin says she “spends many hours a week studying words.” She is hoping that she will be as ready as possible for the competition, but she adds that “you can’t learn all the words.” According to Ms. Bardwell, Erin’s father even wrote a program to help her study French & Latin roots in order to help prepare her for the competition. According to Erin, “everybody I know has already been so encouraging, and I feel like I’ve already made them proud, but I think a way to repay them would be to win.”
The Scripps National Spelling Bee preliminaries were held on May 31st, followed by the finals on June 1st. Finals were broadcast on ESPN2 (first rounds) and ESPN (final rounds). Erin made it all the way to the ninth round of the finals, placing her at a tie for 7th place nationwide.