NYSSA – The fourth time was the charm for Adrian’s Lilly Anderson at the Malheur County Spelling Bee.
Anderson, 13, claimed top honors at the bee held on March 16, winning $500.
Going into the competition, Anderson said she wasn’t expecting to win.
“I was thinking it would be nice to place and no matter what happens I will be happy,” said the Adrian Middle School student.
Anderson crashed through the preliminary rounds and claimed the win by correctly spelling the word “unseemly.”
To get to that point, Anderson had to spell “counterfeit,” “gaels” “fumatorium,” “sanskrit” “cuirass” and “carillon.”
Anderson spent more than a month studying 400 words that might be used during the contest.
Every day after school, she said, she would go home and, with the help of her mother, Sara Daeseleer, focus on the words.
The win, said Anderson, “was awesome.”
“It was something I been wanting to do for a very long time,” she said.
Anderson said she first competed in the countywide spelling bee when she was in first grade.
She then competed in the spelling bee when she was in fifth grade and claimed second place.
“Then I was thinking, you know I kind of want to win this thing,” said Anderson.
When she competed as a sixth grader she finished third.
Going into the bee in March, Anderson was focused on a top place.
“I was really motivated to win the thing. I realized I had only a few more years before I couldn’t do it anymore,” said Anderson.
More than 90 students competed in the bee.
“It is a good opportunity for kids. It gives them something to earn and I think it builds confidence,” said Daeseleer.
The competition was tough but Anderson said she kept her focus.
“I was a mixture of nervous but excited and hopeful. Sometimes they threw me off guard when they pronounced the word,” said Anderson.
For the first time in several years, winners of the spelling bee will not move on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Area schools chose not to participate in the national competition.
When she isn’t concentrating on spelling words, Anderson said she enjoys playing the saxophone and reading graphic novels.
When she won the bee, Anderson said she didn’t really reflect on the victory at first.
“I was just happy with the money,” she said.
The next question was what to do with the cash.
“I told her you better save that for something really cool,” said Daeseleer.
Anderson didn’t spend much time contemplating what to do with the money.
“She put it into savings,” said Daeseleer.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].
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