By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — Selinsgrove Area Middle School student Ashley Phillips plans to prepare for the coming Central Pennsylvania Spelling Bee by practicing in front of her family.
“I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also scared,” the 13-year-old said of being among the 36 spellers vying for a chance to compete in the national Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C., this spring.
Phillips was among 150 sixth- through eighth-graders in 66 Pennsylvania schools eligible to take a 100-word written test on Jan. 27 and a chance to qualify for the state bee.
The daughter of Karen Phillips, of Selinsgrove, and Troy Phillips, of Palmyra, she learned late last week that she was among the 36 spellers who will compete at 1 p.m. Feb. 23 in the WITF Public Media Center in Harrisburg, including returning champion Katie Dudding, an eighth-grader from Mechanicsburg, and Mount Carmel Area Junior-Senior High School student Aleah Alderson.
“Everyone tells me I’m a really good speller,” Phillips said. But she worries her public speaking skills could trip her up. She’s never taken part in a spelling bee where she’ll be required to spell a word in front of a crowd without a pencil and paper.