Oak Ridge Spelling Bee Winner
Grace Russell is kind of a celebrity among her contemporaries in the fourth grade at Oak Ridge School. That’s because the 9-year-old Palos Hills’ girl won a recent district spelling bee and advanced to the regional competition.
Unfortunately, she didn’t finish in the Top 3 which would have advanced her to the state spelling bee. Winning that contest would have propelled her to the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C.
But the rather large trophy she got for winning the district spelling bee brings a huge smile to her face and serves as a conversation starter with friends.
“I’m really happy to have won the district contest and my friends are happy for me,” Grace said.
She said she spent two hours each night practicing her spelling from lists that included words of various origins, including Greek, Japanese, German, Arabic and Latin.
“My grandpa spent a lot of time with me preparing for the spelling bees,” Grace said. “We worked on the words every night.”
She made it through more than a dozen rounds in the initial spelling bee, although midway through she had to think closely on how to spell the word “advertent.”
“I wasn’t sure of the last three letters,” Grace said. “I wasn’t sure if there was an ‘e’ or an ‘a’.”
She said she has been participating in spelling bees since the second grade when she placed first in her class. A year later, however, she bowed out in the first round after spelling GALAXY “g-a-l-i-x-y.”
When she is not practicing her spelling words, Grace is enjoying life like most kids her age: Doing homework, watching television, spending time with friends and taking care of her 10-year-old pitbull named Nestle.
“I’m going to continue to compete in spelling bees,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”