Anchor Point Student Goes Far In State Spelling Bee

Ariel Van Cleave
Kimberly Abbott was tripped up by the word "triumvirate"

     Anchor Point’s Chapman School was well represented during this year’s state spelling bee in Anchorage. Fourth-grader Kimberly Abbott made it to the third round before getting knocked out last month.

     So what word tripped her up? 

     “Triumvirate,” Kimberly said. 

     For a 4th grader, that’s nothing to sneeze at. Neither is making your way to the third round of a state competition that’s meant to propel you to the big leagues: The National Scripps Spelling Bee. And sure, after getting that far, she was definitely disappointed.

     “I was really disappointed because that was the only word I didn’t know in the whole round.”

     Kimberly said nerves could have played a part that day, but only a little.

     “It was kind of scary. It’s just there was so many people there.”

     She said her family was sitting in the audience for moral support, which was helpful. And some natural spelling talent might have actually helped cool her nerves.

     “I really can’t describe it. It’s just something I’ve always been able to do.”

     Kimberly isn’t really new to this whole spelling bee thing. She was in school in Fairbanks last year and attempted to get placed for her school-wide qualifying round. But she spoke too fast. Kimberly said she’s worked on that in the last year and was able to maintain a better speed this time around. 

     And she studied the words, though she says some that she was asked to spell weren’t even on the list. Even so, Chapman School Principal Conrad Woodhead said he couldn’t be prouder of Kimberly’s performance.

     “She was really excited about the spelling bee and took it real serious. And I think that’s indicative to her being a 4th grader mixed in with quite a few middle schoolers. Making it as far as the third round at the state spelling bee says a lot about her and her dedication to do a good job at that,” he said. 

     Woodhead said this is only his third year at the school, but from what he has been told this is the first time a student from Anchor Point has made it this far.

     “When she did do so well there was definitely a buzz around the school and the community… I’m excited because she’s a 4th grader, she’s got quite a few more years with us and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the future with her and the spelling bee.”

     Kimberly said she definitely has plans to try again next year. Maybe she’ll even inspire a few more students along the way.