Local spelling whiz calls U.S. experience ‘really good’

Andrew Robinson
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Emily Hynes, 10,  admits she felt a little nervous as she approached a microphone on a large stage in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday.

Emily Hynes, 10, takes a computer test last Tuesday as part of the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in Washington, D.C. — Photo by Mark Bowen/Scripps National Spelling Bee

Seated amongst 281 students from around the world, Emily was asked to spell “mnemonic” in Round 2 of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Fortunately, it was a word she was familiar with.

“It was really scary, because I thought I was going to get one that I didn’t remember,” said the Grade 5 student from Holy Trinity Elementary in Torbay.

In the end, Emily correctly spelled both words in the first two oral-spelling rounds (she also nailed “diaspora”), but her overall score for the preliminary round did not qualify her for the semi-finals.

“I wasn’t really happy, because I didn’t get in the Top 50, but I was happy that I got far,” said Emily, who was one of the youngest competitors in the event.

She and her parents arrived home Tuesday in Torbay. She qualified to represent Newfoundland and Labrador by winning The Telegram Spelling Bee earlier this year in

St. John’s.

Aside from studying in preparation for last week’s event, Emily watched videos to get a sense of the Scripps experience.

“The stage looked a little different, so it wasn’t like completely the same as I thought it would be.”

The 24-word computer test Emily completed in the preliminary round had a 45-minute time limit. Emily said that test was challenging.

“There was a long one, and I was like, ‘Ehhhh, what?’ Other ones they were kind of normal, but you wouldn’t see them every day though.”

Emily remained on the stage to watch the final round. This year’s bee proved unique, with Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, N.Y., and Ansun Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas declared co-champions. It was the first time since 1962 that two people won the event.

“It was really crazy because I didn’t think they were going to get (the words) right,” said Emily. “It was really hard words.”

While in Washington, the Hynes family managed to visit sites associated with the Smithsonian Institution, just as Emily had hoped prior to leaving Newfoundland. Emily also went shopping.

Her mother, Lisa Hynes, was proud to watch her daughter on the big stage.

“She’s so much younger than all the other kids,” Emily’s mom noted. “I could tell she was nervous, but I’m glad she was No. 25, so she didn’t have to wait too long. After her (first) word, then she could just kind of relax.”

Lisa Hynes was also impressed by how well organizers treated kids taking part in the spelling bee.

“They really revolve everything around the kids. They treat them like royalty. They are the stars — there’s no doubt.”

Now that she knows what it’s like to compete at the national spelling bee, Emily is eager to return to Washington next year.

“I might start (studying) early,” she said.



Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Grade 5, Scripps, Smithsonian Institution

Geographic location: U.S., Newfoundland and Labrador, Torbay Washington Painted Post Fort Worth, Texas

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Recent comments

  • Jennifer
    June 05, 2014 - 16:57

    Congratulations Emily!! And thank you to the Telegram for sponsoring the event in St. John's. Providing this experience to a child and their family each year must be something that stays with them for a lifetime!

  • Jackie
    June 05, 2014 - 15:47

    I would not know either of those words. Congratulations. keep up the good work

  • Geoff Gallant
    Geoff Gallant
    June 05, 2014 - 12:46

    On behalf of the Town of Torbay Congratulations to Emily (and her family)... You have made the entire town very proud! Excellent job!