MJHS student to attend National Spelling Bee


Abby Richburg is a busy 13 year old.

Not only is she involved in classes with The Dancer's Workshop, she also has school work from eighth grade at Manning Junior High School and church activities.

She recently added more to her plate by winning the Regional Spelling Bee held at Francis Marion University, earning her a spot in the National Scripps Spelling Bee, which will be held May 28 in Washington, D.C.

"It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm excited," said Abby, who previously was the first runner-up for 2015 and 2016.

"The last two years, I went up against the same girl," said Abby. "She couldn't compete this year because she was too old."

For Abby, as an eighth-grade student, this will also be her final year competing in the region.

"It was important for me this year, even more so than the previous years, because this is my last year," she said. "I was way more motivated this year."

She said she's always been a good speller.

"There are class spelling bees, and I always wanted to compete in those," she said. "I like to do well in school. From the class spelling bee, you have the grade spelling bee. Then you have the school spelling bee and then the regional."

Becky Richburg, Abby's mother, said everyone in the family helped Abby prepare, including twin sister Anna and older sister Emily.

"We all took turns going over words with her," Richburg said. "Overall, we put in about two-and-a-half weeks of studying before the regional. We put in two full weekends during that time."

For the regional bee, Abby had a word list. She won't be so fortunate for the national one.

"She has an unabridged Merriam-Webster online dictionary that she won as part of her prize from the regional," Richburg said of her daughter. "She's going to go through that and study Greek and Latin root words. She pretty much just has to study and go through the dictionary."

Abby said she's going to concentrate on the meanings of the words as well.

"You have to know a lot of different words and their meanings," she said. "It's going to be a lot about the roots for words and studying that."

In the National Scripps Spelling Bee, Anna will be able to ask for a word's root, pronunciation, part of speech and use in a sentence.

"That can give you some clues about the word," she said.

In the regional bee, Abby was sure of the spelling of all of the words, but "there were some different pronunciations," she said.

"I had to ask for the origin of the word and the definition," she said. "Their pronunciation was different than what I was thinking."

The final word of the competition? "Nebbish."

"That one wasn't that bad," she said.

She said she's ready to work hard and do her best in Washington, D.C.

"It's a challenge to keep up with all the school work and dance and everything with this," she said. "But I've managed to balance it all. I'm excited and nervous about the national competition. I'm sure I will go out there and do my best. I want to represent Manning and Clarendon County as best as I can."


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