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Kalispell teen representing Montana in Scripps National Spelling Bee

Posted: 2:56 PM, May 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-25 16:57:50-04

KALISPELL – A 14-year-old Kalispell girl is one of four state spellers competing in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Kyra Hutchison and her two younger sisters are home-schooled by their mother Michelle.

Kyra told MTN the National Spelling Bee releases a list of 600 words that could potentially be given to students. It’s her job to memorize the spelling of each word to prepare for the competition. Kyra and her mother practice reciting the words together.

“You get a list of 600 words you have to memorize and that’s going to be used for Round 2. So, you’re going to get one out of 600 to spell,” Kyra explained.

Michelle says 11 million students around the country compete to go to the National Spelling Bee, but only 567 make it far enough to go to nationals. Kyra is one of those, but qualifying for nationals isn’t easy. Kyra had to place in the top three for both Flathead County’s spelling bee and the state spelling bee to qualify for nationals.

Over the years, Michelle told MTN, Kyra has been a strong reader. So, when the opportunity to participate in the local spelling club came up, Michelle knew Kyra would excel.

“Kyra has always been a really good reader. She started reading at 3-and-a-half-years-old, and she has a really good memory. So, I thought it made sense when I saw that a spelling club would be offered,” Michelle said.

Kyra is both nervous and excited, as there’s a lot of pressure on the 14-year-old. However, Kyra has a positive mindset going into the competition. She said she’ll try her best and see what happens.

Kyra’s two younger sisters have some advice for her, including, “Don’t be worried to mess up because otherwise you’ll just freeze in the middle of spelling and you’ll never get anything done. And speak slow.”

This is Kyra’s last year to be eligible for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She said she may start coaching younger spellers after this year.

-Reported by Maren Siu/MTN News