Olivia Archer, 13, a seventh grade student at St. Vincent De Paul Parish School, might very well be spelling w-i-n-n-e-r when she competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee being held in Washington, D.C. this week.
Archer will be one of 278 students from around the country and the world to compete in the largest and longest running educational promotion in the nation. She is one of four students from West Virginia competing.
"I'm a little nervous. It has kind of gone back and forth," Olivia said. "I'm excited."
Photo by Sarah Harmon
Olivia Archer who will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. this week, stands with her parents Bruce and Sheila at St. Vincent De Paul Parish School in Wheeling.
Archer won first place at St. Vincent De Paul's school spelling bee and then moved on to compete in the Catholic Spirit Spelling Bee in March where she won second place. Nick Nestor received first place at the Catholic Spirit Spelling Bee this year, but declined the invitation to go to Scripps since he will be graduating this week.
Archer will be going in his place. She has won her school's spelling bee twice and has competed in the Catholic Spirit Spelling Bee three times.
Archer's mother, Sheila Archer, said that Olivia's love for reading has contributed to her impressive vocabulary and spelling skills.
"She's an avid reader, which we think has helped her a lot," Sheila said. "She read 'The Hunger Games' series, for example. She read those in a week. When she was in fourth grade, we didn't see her because she read the Harry Potter series. We tease her, this summer that she needs to get a babysitting job to pay for her book habit."
Along with reading, Archer has been preparing for Scripps by using study guides and taking spelling tests on the Scripps National Spelling Bee website.
"It's been a lot of hard work for her to get to this point. We haven't pushed her, she's pushed herself," Bruce Archer, Olivia's father, said. "Understanding that it's going to be a big honor to be able to go to Washington, D.C. and represent the Catholic Spirit and be one of 278 spellers from throughout the world who get to participate. It's kind of a big deal."
Natalie Archer, 7, Olivia's sister, is proud of her and proud that Olivia can spell "hippopotamus" correctly.
"Olivia wouldn't be where she is without their strong academic and faith based school," Sheila said. "Her teachers, Mrs. Beabout, the school principal, and Father John Mulcahey, our pastor, have been very helpful and supportive."
The Scripps National Spelling be will be an intense week of competitions that will conclude with the semi-finals and finals on Thursday. The competition will be aired live on ESPN3.com and ESPN Wednesday and Thursday respectively.