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Meet the Homeschoolers in the 90th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 90th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee will air live on May 31 and June 1, 2017. Since 1925, youth across America have participated in school, local and regional bees with the hope of making it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The National Spelling Bee is open to contestants who haven’t yet passed the eighth grade. This year, more than 11 million students participated in classroom and school bees before advancing to local bees coordinated by newspapers, community organizations, and universities in the area. The winners of these local bees take part in the National Finals. This year, 291 spellers are participating, including 15 homeschooled spellers! Read their profiles here:

Speller No. 2
Rayne T. Korsmo
Grade 7, Age 12
Northwood, North Dakota
Greater Grand Forks Home School Association
Rayne lives on a working grain farm, where he enjoys building forts, riding his bike, helping his dad, hunting and reading. He is a member of the Northwood Junior High School cross country and track teams. He is also very active in his youth group at Ebenezer Free Lutheran Church. Rayne’s older brother, Ty, competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2012. Between Ty, his sister, Siri, and himself, Rayne and his siblings have won the Grand Forks County Spelling Bee and advanced to the state competition for the past nine years. Rayne also has a younger brother, Bennett, who can’t wait to compete in spelling bees. Rayne would like to be a Disney Imagineer when he grows up.

Speller No. 9
Melodie D. Loya
Grade 6, Age 12
Bainbridge, New York
Sidney Area LEAH (Loving Education At Home)
Since Melodie began reading at the age of four, she has had a fascination with words. As proof, her walls are decorated with 3×5 notecards with the words she has misspelled on them! Melodie likes to write, and she won the PBS Kids Writers Contest when she was in the 3rd grade. Over the years, Melodie has enjoyed participating in a science program called “Girl Power” that is hosted by Kopernik Observatory & Science Center. Some of Melodie’s hobbies include baking, crafts, origami and reading. She keeps a list of challenging dessert words, and she likes to bake them!

Speller No. 89
Lucas Mooney
Grade 8, Age 13
Charles Town, West Virginia
St. James Homeschoolers
Lucas is a 13-year-old homeschooled 8th grader. He is a sports fanatic who describes himself as a “rabid” Philadelphia Eagles fan. He loves football, basketball and wrestling. Lucas is a black belt in karate and also runs cross country. He loves reading, video games, outdoor activities and playing the piano. He is also obsessed with Mexican food! Lucas competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2016.

Speller No. 109
Paul Hamrick
Grade 7, Age 13
Monterey, California
Home School
Paul lives in Monterey, California, with his parents and two younger brothers. He is homeschooled. Paul likes to read adventure and mathematics books. He enjoys math, history, spelling, reading, and games, and he plays the piano, trumpet, and the French horn. Paul enjoys traveling with his family and playing games like Monopoly, Life and Magic: The Gathering with his brothers.

Speller No. 120
Jack Miller
Grade 7, Age 13
Abilene, Texas
Big Country Home Educators
Jack’s favorite subjects in school are history and Latin. At least once a month, a new acquaintance will ask Jack if he realizes he resembles Harry Potter. When he’s not studying, Jack participates in an array of activities, including Kajukenbo (a mixed martial art incorporating karate, judo/jujitsu, kenpo and boxing), tap dancing, and singing in his church choir. Jack loves to write and adapt stories and knock-knock jokes in his spare time. He also enjoys looking through Bee Keepers from years past. He competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2015 and 2016.

Speller No. 124
Grace C. McKeegan
Grade 7, Age 13
Steubenville, Ohio
Heart of Mary Home School
Grace likes English, and she enjoys diagramming sentences. She also sings sacred music in a choir. She is never happier than when curled up with classic books like Little Women, Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairie. She wants to be a librarian when she grows up, and she can’t wait for the day when she will be able to start cataloging books. Grace’s cousin Connor Voorhees competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2016.

Speller No. 129
Sydney Aslan
Grade 8, Age 14
Brentwood, Tennessee
Home School
Sydney’s favorite subject is writing and anything that has to do with languages. Sydney has been homeschooled since 1st grade, except for one semester in the 7th grade when she attended public school. Sydney enjoys many kinds of sports. She currently plays basketball and runs track and cross country. She would like to get a basketball scholarship to college, and she hopes to one day be a film director.

Speller No. 140
Lydia Ann Bitterman
Grade 7, Age 12
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Marion Homeschool Association
Lydia enjoys art, reading, painting and writing short stories. In the summer, she enjoys boating with her family, going to amusement parks and swimming. During the school year, she attends Classical Conversations (a national homeschool group), where she learns Latin, research, composition, geography, apologetics and math.

Speller No. 141
Storrie Jamerson Kulynych-Irvin
Grade 7, Age 12
Annapolis, Maryland
Home School
Storrie loves writing, literature and competitive sports. She trains and competes year-round with the Naval Academy Aquatic Club, runs on a cross country club team, and is a member of a USA Triathlon Youth Elite triathlon team. In her free time, Storrie likes to sail with her dad near her home in Annapolis. Her favorite periodical is The New Yorker and her favorite website is SwimSwam. Storrie competed in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Speller No. 144
Joseph Moran
Grade 5, Age 10
Hayden, Idaho
North Idaho Home Educators Association
Some of Joseph’s hobbies are playing baseball, playing piano, reading, roller-skating and meeting new people. He aspires to travel all over Europe one day, and he especially looks forward to seeing Paris and the Eiffel Tower. History is Joseph’s favorite subject in school.

Speller No. 162
Kelly Elise Mills
Grade 7, Age 13
Beaver, West Virginia
Raleigh Educational Association of Christian Homeschoolers
Kelly loves dance, and her favorite school subject is history. In Kelly’s free time, you can often find her taking dance classes, reading, playing piano or skiing. Kelly has participated in The Nutcracker ballet for five years. She has previously played the roles of “Cherub,” “Soldier,” “Party Child,” and “Candy Cane.” Kelly has a passion for politics, and she hopes to one day manage a presidential campaign! Kelly’s sister Erin competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2010, and her sister Katie competed in 2016.

Speller No. 227
Enya V. Hubers
Grade 6, Age 11
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Home School
Enya plays piano and cello, and she sings with a choir. She stays active with speed skating and participating in triathlons. To keep herself even busier, she also has a paper route. Enya is passionate about science and wants to be a veterinarian, physician or biomedical engineer when she grows up. She has composed songs for the piano and cello, including “Calm and Perilous River” and “Musical Instruments Gone Wild.” Enya is also an animal lover and has a white cat named Charlotte with heterochromia: one green eye and one blue eye.

Speller No. 246
Gabrielle Brown
Grade 8, Age 14
Salisbury, North Carolina
Rowan County Homeschool Association
Gabrielle is a lover of books. She especially enjoys reading English classics such as Little Women and dystopian fiction. She has read The Hunger Games trilogy multiple times! She also enjoys drawing and painting, listening to her favorite bands (Pentatonix and For King and Country), playing the violin, and singing in both a homeschool chorus and a youth worship band. Gabrielle’s favorite way to spend her free time is to watch both college and elite gymnastics. She has found an example of extraordinary achievement through passion and perseverance in Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles. Gabrielle has also been personally inspired to persevere in her study of words by the movie Akeelah and the Bee. Since Gabrielle does not have specific career aspirations yet, she plans to spend her high school years exploring as many areas of interests as possible.

Speller No. 248
Torah Smith
Grade 6, Age 12
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
C.H.E.C Homeschoolers
Torah loves to read fantasy books and listen to music. She also likes to play piano, draw and snowboard. She plays soccer and basketball and swims in the summer. With a name literally meaning “law maker,” she may be a lawyer in the future, but she would like to keep her options open. Torah’s favorite movies are those in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and she has a tradition where her family watches all the extended editions together each year.

Speller No. 290
Edith Fuller
Grade K, Age 6
Tulsa, Oklahoma
T.B.C. Home Educators Fellowship
Edith is the youngest speller ever to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, going against teenagers nearly three times her age. The oldest of four children, she enjoys being outdoors where she can run, climb trees and catch insects. She loves to make up stories and pretend to be animals and different characters with her little brothers. Music is a big part of her life; in addition to learning piano, she is active in her church’s children’s choir. She hopes to become a professor of zoology one day.

Mark your calendars… The 90th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee will air live from the Gaylord National Convention Center near Washington, D.C., on May 31 and June 1. Be sure to watch it and root for the homeschooled spellers!

More information can be found online.

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