Maui student represents Hawaii in Scripps National Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is underway in Washington D.C.

A 13-year-old girl from Maui was among hundreds competing from across the country this week.

Leela Waterford, a student at Emmanuel Lutheran School, made it to round three of the preliminary competition.

Students were tested on written spelling items and multiple choice vocabulary items, then challenged to two rounds of oral spelling onstage.

“There was a lot of energy on the stage, like some of the people in the back row were cheering and stuff when everyone got their word right,” she said. “It was really exciting, but we were also all really nervous.”

Unfortunately, Waterford missed the cutoff for Thursday’s finals by just a few points and tied for 41st place.

Her mother tells KHON2 she is still extremely proud, and brimming with happiness at the hard work and determination that got her to this point.

Waterford’s older sister, Ameera, represented Hawaii in the contest last year.

This is the 90th anniversary of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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