Super speller heads to Scripps National Spelling Bee | ParkRecord.com

Super speller heads to Scripps National Spelling Bee

Melinda Buhlman poses with Andy Bernhard, publisher of The Park Record, after winning the 2016 Park Record Spelling Bee in March. She is set to test her skills against spellers from all across the country at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., which begins Tuesday. (Park Record file photo)

Melinda Buhlman is not taking her opportunity to be under the bright lights of the national stage lightly.

Buhlman, a seventh-grader at Rocky Mountain Middle School in Heber, will test herself this week against the best spellers in the world at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Since winning the 2016 Park Record Spelling Bee in March to qualify, she has been feverishly preparing for her big shot.

"Usually, I wake up at around 6 a.m. and I study for 40 minutes before I have to get ready for school," she said. "Then, I try to have my parents test me on the words every night after school."

Buhlman and her family were set to travel to Washington, D.C., this weekend. The actual competition was scheduled to start Tuesday with a preliminary round of testing, then Buhlman will first step in front of the microphone Wednesday.

She said competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee has been a goal since fifth grade. But she’s getting progressively more nervous as the event nears.

"Part of me still thinks it’s a dream and I’m just asleep," she said. "And part of me is like, ‘I’m actually going to do it.’ And another part of me is really, really nervous."

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Despite the nerves, Buhlman is confident she will do well, though she is unsure how she stacks up against many of the competitors who have devoted their lives to spelling for several years. Regardless of how she does, however, it will be an experience she won’t soon forget.

"I just love spelling," she said. "It’s something that is fun for me, I guess. It’s just been one of my things that I’ve always wanted to do."

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