Islander Middle School student is regional spelling bee champ

Kela Harrington will head to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in June. She won the regional competition last weekend.  - Elizabeth Celms/Mercer Island Reporter
Kela Harrington will head to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in June. She won the regional competition last weekend.
— image credit: Elizabeth Celms/Mercer Island Reporter

Islander Middle School student Kela Harrington, 13, is the region’s new spelling bee champion. Harrington won the King and Snohomish Regional Spelling Bee last Sunday after three hours of out spelling 54 competitors.

Although an avid reader and writer, the seventh-grader said she was “shocked” to win the contest.

“This was my first time in a spelling bee. I didn’t know I was going to get very far,” she said modestly.

According to Harrington, the hardest word in the 12-round competition was “traumatropism.” When stumped, Harrington said she would break a word down to its roots, prefixes and suffixes to get a better mental image of its spelling.

Harrington’s father, Jonathan Harrington, attributes his daughter’s success to her passion for reading and writing. The spelling bee champion agrees.

“I don’t do word puzzles, but I read a lot and write in journals,” she said, adding that she enjoys discovering new words. “I have a spelling notebook where I keep words I think are interesting.”

Now that she has won the regional championship, Kela Harrington will travel to Washington, D.C., where she has never been, to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, June 2-4. The teenager’s father will accompany her.

The new regional champion also won a dictionary, online encyclopedia subscription, tickets to the Woodland Park Zoo and a case of personalized Jones Soda. Her travel expenses to Washington D.C. are covered.


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