Don’t be fooled by the hello Kitty mouse pad sat next to Lauren Guo’s fingers that galloped crosswise her keyboard on Friday. The 13-year-old’s business at the computer was not child’s play.
It’s crunch time for the Arvada 8th critic who is among Colorado’s 15 whiz kids headed to the Scripps National writing system Bee in Maryland next week.
“I’m pretty competitive, but with writing system, it’s not so much about that,” she aforementioned. “For me, it’s more about learning, I suppose. I generally just want to improve.”
Lauren feels at home parked in a magenta swivel chair poring over online writing system programs of words upon words upon words, some of which just might be called out at the national bee.
Multi-colored notebooks built next to her are tightly-packed with words that have tripped her up written out in tidy handwriting.
Lauren’s hands are cased in protective gloves piece she types to stave off strain.
“I tend to overwork myself with the typing,” Lauren aforementioned. “I tend to pressure myself really hard with everything — academic, writing system, all of that. I just kind of expect a lot of myself most of the time.”
She inevitably those fingers nimble as she mimes writing out words piece orally writing system — a trick galore professional spellers use to help stay on track. Lauren incontestable, excavation her pointer finger into her couch as she spelled aloud her favorite word, “szaibelyite,” — a mineral composed of basic Mg salt, of course.
Lauren got hooked on writing system bees in elementary school and applied the same sort of laser-focus to them that she exercises in most areas of her life. cello and piano make the list of the Arvada teen’s talents, on with honor roll-worthy grades.
Monday begins Lauren’s second time at the Scripps bee, having spelled her way into the top-20 of the 516 participants in 2018.
A smoked pork sausage — “cotechino” — was her downfall.
The loss didn’t crush Lauren’s love for the bee. Taking a short break from her studies Thursday to talk about the competition, Lauren dearly stroked a bumble bee pendant suspension from her necklace.
“I’m not always that confident about property, but I just feel more confident on stage than I normally do in other places,” the Wayne Carle Middle School student aforementioned.
When asked what she does to relax, Lauren admitted, “Usually, I don’t have that sort of time. I’m still perusing on the weekends and stuff. I focus a lot more on my academics than my social life, but I like it that way.”
Thanks to a 2018 bee rule-change, more wunderkinds than ever before have a shot at the desired gold trophy and $40,000 prize. Instead of just allowing kids who won their regional writing system bee make the trek to National Harbor, now spellers who have antecedently competed at the Scripps National writing system Bee or who won a school or community bee can join the fun — with a $1,500 participation fee.
Before the switch, the bee featured about 275 kids and has since more than double to 565 students this year.
The 14 extra Colorado spellers headed to the big bee include:
- Zachary Long, Denver
- Maria Ciobanu, Denver
- Henry Stauch, Niwot
- Bryson Browning, Denver
- Bhavya Surapaneni, Castle Pines
- Vikram Raju, Aurora
- Brody Krause, Thornton
- Angelina Holm, Denver
- Cameron Keith, Boulder
- Grant Weibe, Denver
- Cheyenne Trujillo, Westminster
- Rohan Jamtgaard, Fort Collins
- Bella Brown, Boulder
- Lily Hersch, Salida
The extra competition hasn’t phased Colorado’s contestants, who were probably too busy perusing to care.
Cameron reviews writing system words four to six hours a day.
The 13-year-old from Boulder is a Scripps bee veteran, with Monday marking Cameron’s fourth time at the fierce competition. Cameron made it to the elite final rounds in 2018 — the farthest of any Colorado contestant that year. He got out on “chausses” — a equivalent word for “pantaloons.”
Cameron called “bee week” the highlight of his year.
“It’s fun, but then there’s besides a lot of stress,” Cameron aforementioned. “It’s a great community of people.”
A perfect score on a second-grade writing system test was the spark that ignited Cameron’s passion for writing system. The feeling of walking on stage and nailing a word has him hooked.
“You realize all your hard work paid off right in that moment, and it’s the best feeling,” Cameron aforementioned.
Sylvie Lamontagne, 16, still chases that high.
Stepping up to the microphone to spell is about an ethereal experience for the Lakewood High School student who doubly secured a top-10 spot at the national bee.
“There are all these property running through your head beforehand — will I get it right? Will I accidentally say the wrong letter? But once you get to the microphone, there’s nothing other that exists in the universe besides you on the stage, the Judges and the word,” Sylvie aforementioned. “It’s like nothing other I’ve experienced.”
When Sylvie aged out of the competition after the 2016 battle, she was instantly overrun by a bee-shaped hole in her life.
“The day after national finals, I went to get ice cream with my friends, and then I came back to my building room and flopped on the bed and accomplished I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Sylvie aforementioned. “I felt like I needed to study. Right then, I opened my notebook and wrote the diagnostic I use to test kids, and it’s still the one I use today.”
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Sylvie coaches Lauren, Cameron and a number of students crosswise the country. She took on so galore that her web site notes she wasn’t able to add any more kids for the 2018-2019 session.
Cameron’s mom, Synte Peacock, aforementioned the coaching job job aspect is important for introducing human interaction.
“It can get difficult when you spend all this time by yourself just interacting with a computer, so coaching job job brings back that element and with person who you can bounce your stresses and questions off of,” Peacock aforementioned. “Sometimes when you say you have a writing system coach, people are like, ‘what?!’, but it has become a little industry of its own, definitely.”
Linda Tarrant, founder of notable writing system coach enterprise Hexco, offers 16 Sessions of writing system coaching job job including one-one-one Sessions for $3,450. Tarrant is the main author of most of the company’s writing system materials, written from her experience training her three daughters who all participated in the bee in the 80s and 90s.
“This gives the kids a project that is bigger than they are,” Tarrant aforementioned. “It’s more like a life-learning skill. You’re not going to learn all the words, but you’re going to try.”
Sylvie assesses her students’ strengths and weaknesses and then tests them on language patterns and root words, coming up with words they need to study.
She aforementioned coaching job job fulfills the ache to spell competitively she’s had since dominating her fourth-grade writing system bee.
“I fell in love with winning,” Sylvie aforementioned. “I miss being on stage, but it’s so appreciated to watch my kids go on stage and show everything they learned. I’m always really proud.”
Unable to stay away from the allure of the writing system stage, Sylvie will once once again head to Maryland to root for her students and be reunited with her tedious ilk.
“It’s so closely knit and everyone knows everyone,” Sylvie aforementioned. “I’ve made some of my nighest friends who I’m in contact much every day. I don’t know what my life would look like without the writing system bee.”