MISSOULA - The Scripps National Spelling Bee is hosting over 200 of the nation and world’s best spellers.
The event is back in person in Washington DC For the first time since 2019 and Montana will be represented well by Missoula eighth grade student Ellette Whitcomb.
Not only is Whitcomb Montana State’s Spelling Bee champion, she is a dancer, singer, student and athlete — making her quite the busy bee.
She has been practicing whenever and wherever she can for the national title and is a name you won’t want to forget come May 31.
Throughout multiple rounds starting early in the mornings, Whitcomb will be quizzed on any of the 4,000 some words in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
“The unabridged dictionary is huge," said Whitcomb. "I cannot memorize every word in it like I was doing for all the spelling bees, which is why I have to memorize root words so that I can just spell anything hopefully.”
Part of her preparation is studying root words, in what she describes is a dry book.
“In this really, really dry book," said Whitcomb. "So it’s really hard to get through, but I am doing it.”
And as she prepares for the competition, Whitcomb says she is starting to feel the pressure.
“Because I'm the one representative Montana, that's a lot of pressure," Whitcomb told MTN News. "I'm like if I mess up, this is reflected on everyone.”
But the most important thing for Whitcomb is that she is always learning.
“Having all of these words means that I can use unique words that say instead of using 'good' and 'great' all the time,” said Whitcomb.
The competition starts on Tuesday May 31 at 7 a.m. for details on how you can cheer on Ellette, you can click here.