This year, area of Eastern New Mexico will be well represented at the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee by thirteen-year-old Clovis Christian School student Ariel Kokoricha.
It has been somewhat of a lengthy process for Ariel to reserve her spot in D.C. this upcoming summer. To get there, she placed within the top three in her class and school spelling bees to advance to the country and state spelling bees where she finished first in both contests. Once at the National Spelling Bee, Ariel will still have to advance through a multitude of phases to be successful at the competition such as the oral and computer rounds.
Having already competed once before at the National Spelling Bee, Ariel has a good idea of what she must do differently this time to improve upon her 43rd place finish, such as learning more words and roots and developing a better vocabulary.
“I will be able to apply what I learned last time to this trip because I will have a better vocabulary, so the vocabulary portion will not be too hard. I will know more words, but the words that I’ll have to guess won’t be as hard to guess,” said Kokoricha.
To manage her nervousness while competing, Ariel prays and thinks about what she will do when the spelling bee is over as well as the celebrations that will occur afterwards. Her belief that her only competition are the words she is spelling also helps her to calm down.
“I always plan to celebrate a win or a loss because my mom has always told me that I only compete against the dictionary,” said Kokoricha.
What Ariel loves most about competing in spelling bees is getting to see the fruits of her labor show after many hours of hard work. In addition to her tireless work ethic, there are a number of people that she says have contributed to her success such as her parents Tobore and Oyin Kokoricha. Her parents have helped her to find the best spelling resources and have been willing to pay for her to get those resources. Ariel’s family will continue to support her in other endeavors, such as her aspiration to become a neuropsychiatrist.
Ariel is also thankful for the school faculty who has aided in her achievements as well as the support she receives from the community.
“Mrs. Hill coordinated the first Scripps Spelling Bee at the Clovis Christian School, which got me started on the spelling bee road. Dr. Linda D’Amour was kind enough to take over the spelling bee coordination when Mrs. Hill left CCS. [Several] of the people I know in Clovis have been supportive by cheering me on when I do competitions, [such as] my classmates, friends, family friends, my church, and school,” said Kokoricha.
The 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee will take place May 22 through the 27 in Washington, D.C.