If you know of a “Whiz Kid” who has reached a milestone academically or athletically or who has made a difference in the community through volunteering or the arts, Patch would love to hear from you. Please send your information to Noah@Patch.com.
This week’s Whiz Kid is 13-year-old Kira Paley, an eighth-grader at Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey in River Edge. Paley, who’s been a Teaneck resident for more than a year, won the 74th North Jersey Spelling Bee on March 17. Paley and 25 other contestants tried to keep their nerves in check while at the same time spelling words most people rarely see or utter in their lifetime. In the end, after correctly spelling “carapace,” Paley was the last student standing. Along with winning a trophy and a $1,000 scholarship, she earned a chance to compete at the national bee, which is scheduled for June 1-2 near Washington, D.C.
- How did you prepare for this last spelling bee? I studied from the Scripps National Spelling Bee Consolidated Word List for about a half-hour each night. My father helped me.
- After the judges give you a word, how do you execute the spelling of it? I first visualize it in my head, and if I can’t visualize it, I spell it out on my hand.
- How do you feel when you stand on stage? I’m really nervous, but I just try to get through it. It really helped that my two best friends were at the spelling bee supporting me.
- How are you preparing yourself for the national bee? I want to memorize all the words on the consolidated word list. There are almost 24,000 words, and I have about 200 memorized right now.
- What advice can you offer for spelling unfamiliar words? The best way to spell a word you don’t know is to sound it out. Many words are spelled like they sound.
The spelling bee that Paley won was held at Bergen Community College and was sponsored by North Jersey Media Group. A full story about the event can be found here.