Western Springs champ to go on to National Spelling Bee
Spelling Bee champion Alia Abiad, from McClure Junior High, gets a congratulatory high-five Feb. 7 at the regional spelling bee. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:27AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Seventh-grader Alia Abiad has won a trip to Washington, D.C. and the chance to compete in the National Spelling Bee.
The McClure Junior High School student took top honors in the second round of a regional spelling bee Feb. 21, enjoying home court advantage.
Alia maintained a perfect record in all three spelling competitions, not missing a single word. Her winning word was fruition.
The bee Feb. 21 featured 10 students, the top three finishers from three suburban Cook county regions, plus two students tied for third place in one region.
“Last night, the words were tougher and the competition was a lot harder,” Alia said.
“But I also had a lot more support. A lot of my friends were there cheering me on, and that made a difference,” she said.
Alia said she prepared for the competition by drilling with her parents and doing a lot of reading.
“Whenever they’d find a new a new word they’d ask me about it,” she said. “Also, whenever I’m reading, every time I find a new word, I highlight it and look it up.”
Alia said she finds knowing the word’s origin is helpful in determining how it’s spelled. She tries to picture in her mind how the word looks.
Alia and her family are making arrangements for spending a week in the nation’s capital before Memorial Day, when she will compete with students from all over the nation.
In addition to practicing violin and tennis as a singles player, Alia said she’ll be looking over lists of spelling words, reading and going through the dictionary.
“I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing and having my parents help me,” she said.