A sixth grader from Starkville will represent Mississippi this summer in Washington D.C. after winning the Mississippi Spelling Bee. MPB's Alexis Ware speaks to the champion speller.
Contestant: "Spiracle. S-p-i-r-a-c-l-e Spiracle."
Judge: "That is correct." [clapping]
That's Soyeon Park spelling the winning word in the Mississippi Spelling Bee. The 6th grade Armstrong Middle School student won after 39 rounds. Spiracle, by the way, means one of the breathing pores that's usually in 10 pairs on the thorax and abdomen on an insect.
With this word, Park advances to the 90th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
"I'm surprised because I wasn't expecting to get first place but I'm kind of happy and I don't really know how i'm feeling because I'm on adrenaline right now."
The Mississippi Association of Educators President,Joyce Helmick, sees the Bee as more than just a competition.
"It's very important for our students because it helps to showcase another talent that our students have and we're very proud to be able to sponsor the spelling bee and show that this is a talent to be able to spell these words and go up on stage and do that."
For winning, Park receives a trip to D.C. for herself and one parent.This will be Park's second time competing nationally. She says she has already begun studying for the national bee and hopes to beat her personal best.