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Spelling champ to give national bee a second try

By KBell
May 25, 2012 at 12:25 a.m.
Updated May 26, 2012 at 12:26 a.m.

Regional spelling champion Pauline Negrete spends hours preparing for the Scripps National Spelling Bee at her Edna home.

Regional spelling champion Pauline Negrete spends hours preparing for the Scripps National Spelling Bee at her Edna home.   Todd Krainin for The Victoria Advocate

While the rest of her classmates wound down from the school year, Pauline Negrete was going as hard as ever.

Since being crowned the regional spelling bee champion in March, the seventh-grader at Edna Junior High School has been gearing up for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Pauline leaves Sunday with her Mom and Dad. The family will spend the week sightseeing in D.C., hanging out with other master spellers and, of course, competing in the bee.

She is reminiscent of what happened two years ago, when she won the regional competition and competed in the national bee. Pauline is one of 52 competitors returning for a second year.

"Since it's a different stage and stuff, I'm going to feel a little bit more nervous, but I'll be fine," Pauline said.

This time, she's more prepared, she said. Her Dad, Pablo has purchased several study books, and Pauline uses dictionary.com to look up pronunciations and languages of origin. Her mom, Maria, also helps deliver Pauline the tough words.

Take for example, "vichyssoise." It's a creamy, cold soup, Pauline explained, and it's one of the hundreds of difficult words she's been learning lately.

"They're a different level for me. Some (words) are hard, and some are not so hard, but I tried to learn all of them," she said.

She studies every chance she can, even during her hour of swimming practice each day.

"I take the books and stuff with me on the way (to swimming practice), and I look stuff up," she said. "Then when I get home, I keep studying."

Pauline said she's looking forward the most to seeing some more sites in D.C. with her family, who she has repeatedly thanks for their support over the years.

A barbecue, assemblies and some preliminary rounds of competition stand between her and the finals on Thursday. Pauline said she's ready.

"I'm just going to take a deep breath and relax and believe in myself," she said.

The competition Thursday will be aired on ESPN and ESPN2.



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