‘What’s the origin of the word?’ Confluence Academy-South City 8th grader preps for regional spelling bee
‘What’s the origin of the word?’ Confluence Academy-South City 8th grader preps for regional spelling bee
Posted on 02/27/2014

In two days, the top student spellers in the St. Louis area will show their personal levels of confidence at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Regional Spelling Bee. The bee is March 1 at 9:00 a.m. at McKendree University.

student photoWalneisha White, an eighth-grade student at Confluence Academy-South City, will channel her confidence as one of 30 students who earned a spot in the bee.

The experience of spelling bees is a first for Walneisha. The journey started in January at Confluence Academy-South City’s school bee. She won first place with plagiarism. Winning the school bee qualified her to compete in a round at McKendree on February 22. The regional bee is a qualifying event for the E.W. Scripps National Spelling Bee, held May 25-May 31, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

“I feel excited. I made it this far by doing my best. For my first time, I’m doing pretty good,” said Walneisha.

She admits she had a case of nerves at the school spelling bee.

“I was nervous about getting in front of all those people. I was thinking about other things. It takes a lot of focus to be up there.”

To get ready for the regional bee, she is “focusing on the origin of the word.” She has a Merriam-Webster dictionary and a list of words from the bee. Her friends are helping her at school by testing her with words. She looks for patterns and pays attention to pronunciation. “I know if I have the pronunciation, I can spell it.”

Some words are hard, though.

“Greek words are the most difficult, and words that start with W but sound like V,” said Walneisha.

Outside of spelling bees, Walneisha likes science and technology. Next school year, she’ll be a freshman at Carnahan High School of the Future. She is interested in computer programming and accounting. She likes to read romance novels like the ‘Twilight’ and ‘Beautiful Creatures’ series, listen to music, talk on the phone with friends and “hang out with my mom.”

The bee competitions have piqued a new interest. “I like it a lot,” she said. “I really want to win.”

“I do believe in myself. I do believe I have a chance to win.”