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Pauline Negrete to cheer for Texan spellers

By BY KAYLA BELL - KBELL@VICAD.COM
May 30, 2012 at 12:30 a.m.
Updated May 31, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.


BY THE NUMBERS

• 51.5 percent: Girls in the national spelling bee

• 2: Students who have been to the bee five times

• 278: Students in the national bee

• 20: Spellers with at least one relative who has competed in previous national finals

• 69.4 percent: National bee students from public schools

Source: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Pauline Negrete represented Jackson County. She represented the Crossroads. Now, she'll represent Texas in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Pauline, an incoming eighth-grader at Edna Junior High School, wasn't one of the 50 spellers to make it into the semifinal round of the bee. But Scripps did pick her to be the cheerleader for her state in the semifinals and finals on Thursday.

"I get to support the ones that are still in it," she said, adding that there are four spellers from Texas. "They pick one kid from every state to cheer on the other ones who remain."

That means she'll be on ESPN and ESPN2, encouraging the fellow spellers she's come to know since arriving in Washington D.C. on Sunday.

"Everyone's different, but they're all really cool. There are a lot of neat things about them," she said. Some play instruments, some collect different things, and they come from all over the nation and other countries. Some students Pauline even recognized from her trip to the national competition two years ago, she said.

Pauline got to know her competitors at a barbecue Monday, but since then, there had not been much time to hang out. She said she had been holed up in the hotel room with her parents studying for the first three rounds of competition, which ended Wednesday.

"They were really difficult - like really difficult words," Pauline said. "They made the words even harder than two years ago."

For example, "oxylophyte," was one of the words she received in the second round of competition. She spelled it correctly, she said.

After the competition Thursday, Pauline and her parents plan to visit the sites before heading back to the Crossroads on Saturday.

Then, it's back to the books. Next year will be the last time Pauline is eligible to make it to the national bee.

Her goal is to make it on stage, she said.

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