BRISTOL - A brother and sister will put their spelling skills to the test as they compete not only against other students, but also against each other.
Misty and Shane King of Bristol have been studying together every day for the 22nd annual Tribune Chronicle Spelling Bee coming up on Monday. Although they hold different interests, one thing they do have in common is a fierce competitive drive.
"They like competition, with each other especially," said their mom, Ellie. "Shane seems like he's going to be more aggressive because of competing with his sister. Misty is just all-around competitive in everything," she said.
Misty, a fifth-grader, is making her second appearance at the bee, whereas Shane, a seventh-grader, will step onto the platform for the first time.
Shane said his favorite word to spell is "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."
"There's 34 letters," he said.
If you go
WHAT: 22nd annual Tribune Chronicle Spelling Bee
WHEN: 6 p.m. Monday
WHERE: LaBrae High School auditorium
Misty said she doesn't have a favorite word in particular, but both admit their nerves sometimes get the best of them.
"Shane has a tendency to rush through it because he's nervous and realize it right after when its too late. Misty thinks about it, but then her nerves rattle her," Ellie said.
Misty and Shane said they aren't looking forward to facing off against former winners.
Returning champion Rebekah Stanhope, a sixth-grader from Badger, took first place in last year's bee. This will be her fifth year in the competition.
Also returning is Abbigayle Grace, a fifth-grader from Champion, who placed second in the Trumbull County bee.
This year's prizes include the Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary and the Sugarman Award, $100 Series EE U.S. Savings Bond from Jay Sugarman for first place; Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Ed. for second place; and $20 gift certificates for third and fourth place.
In addition to trophies awarded to the top four spellers, the champion of the bee earns a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals.
Scripps' purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.
Thirty-three students will compete in this year's Tribune Chronicle bee, with third-grader Nathaniel Fox of Lakeview Elementary being the youngest competitor.
"We're very excited for all the students to compete in this year's spelling bee. They all practice so hard, and they're all champions," said Tribune Chronicle events coordinator Sue Shafer. "They're really brave to put themselves on the line and spell before a crowd of people. I marvel at their composure every year.''
The bee is open to students who have not reached their 16th birthday on or before the date of the national finals, who have not passed beyond the eighth grade by Feb. 1, and who attend public, private, parochial and home schools.
Misty first got the urge to compete last year after attending the Ohio State Fair, and she spelled her way to runner-up her first time participating in the Tribune Chronicle bee.
"I like how challenging it is," she said, adding that her favorite thing about the bee is the competition.
And Misty, 11, is no stranger to competition, being involved in several sports as well as sharing a home with seven other siblings, many of whom help their brother and sister exercise their spelling skills.
An interest in stringing letters together to form difficult words is a new interest for Shane, who usually enjoys playing video games, said Ellie.
"He's not regularly a studier so this has put a little fire under him. His grades were way down and then he studied real hard to get them up. I think seeing the benefit of it has inspired him to do better," she said.
Misty and Shane shared their excitement about Monday's competition, both describing the opportunity to compete against each other as "cool."