Shreveport teen heads to the National Spelling Bee - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Shreveport teen heads to the National Spelling Bee

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Chimichanga is the word Safa Michigan spelled correctly in the final round of the regional spelling bee that advanced her to the national competition. Her next stop is Washington DC. "I guess I won't actually be nervous until I actually get up there" 8th grade Safa says about the national spelling bee in Washington DC. She leaves for the competition on May 25th.

She's been spelling in the spotlight since 5th grade. "The person reads the word and I spell it and if I need a definition then I ask the definition and if I get it right then I check it off" Safa says about how she is preparing for the spotlight.

"She is very gifted, very dedicated, so hard working, she's really been amazing to work with" her tutor, Sarah Kennemer says. Kennemer turns page after page of the dictionary and throws practice words to Safa to spell. "At school and regional's they gave you an assigned packet so if you knew all the words in that packet, then you were set. At the national spelling bee, the packet is pretty much the entire Webster's Dictionary" Safa says. "If she has any problems then we make a notation and return to the word later" Kennemer says.

If spelling all the words in the massive book wasn't enough, Safa says "they recently said they were adding a vocabulary section to the spelling bee so I've also started focusing on the definitions of the words as well."

"It's a lot of work, it's a lot of stress in addition to the normal challenges to going to school and growing up, becoming a teenager" Kennemer says. "I want to represent Louisiana well in the spelling bee; I guess that's my responsibility" Safa says.

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