Can a news reporter match spelling skills with a Colorado spelling be champion? Both professions use words, so it should be an equal test.
Not even close.
Faith Baca, a 14-year-old, from the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning was crowned the champion of the 77th annual Colorado State Spelling Bee in March. Twenty-two rounds and 33 finalists, she claimed the stop spelling honors with the word rhabdoid.
The next stop is the 2017 National Spelling Bee, May 31-June 1. The spelling bee says that 11 million spellers set out to earn a spot in the bee, but only 291 will get the chance to compete. Faith Baca, an Aurora 8th-grader, is one of them.
"I began spelling in 4th-grade," Baca said. "I won my very first spelling bee and that kind of set me on the trajectory of going to the national bee this year. So, I really just became more interested every year and, I don't know, the words just fascinated me so I kept going and kept studying."
She knows that winning the Colorado Spelling Bee was a challenge, but Baca isn't short on self-confidence. That comes from the studying and some earned wisdom.
"If you don't have that confidence, if you keep telling yourself you're not going to win, you don't really have as much of a chance as you do if you boost your confidence and say 'I can win.' "
How deep does that confidence run? Well, unlike the rest of mere mortals, she doesn't use spell check. Lots of us are bad spellers, but that gets covered up by technology. Except for maybe the occasional auto-correct gaff.
"I think that it's fun to spell. When you use technology just to spell for you, it doesn't give you the same feeling of, you know, satisfaction, as when you spell a word correctly. Like you're proud of yourself cause you did it right."