Maya Jadhav likes math and science – she’s only in 8th grade - but she’s already taking high school courses!
Even more impressive – her long-time run as a Scripps National Spelling Bee contestant. This year’s Bee kicks off right after Memorial Day.
For the past few years, spelling has taken up a lot of Maya’s time.
“My principal Carole Mason said to my parents that they had a future spelling bee champion, so that kind of inspired me and I started doing spelling in the third grade," Maya said.
Maya says her dad preps practice word lists and coaches her.
“I try to do a lot of repetition and really just practice words I’ve gotten wrong before. I study roots and language rules as well,” Maya says.
Some of the trickiest words aren’t all that long.
“I like cwm, just because it’s not very long but it’s still hard to spell because there aren’t any vowels, and it’s an interesting word,” Maya says.
That’s a Gaelic word for a type of valley.
Maya’s mom, Terra Theim, says her daughter is learning more than just vocabulary. She’s learning dedication.
“She puts in the work,” Terra says. “It’s not always glamorous or exciting doing hours and hours of word lists, but she does it and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
Maya has qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee five times – and she’s been on the stage twice before. All those trips to D.C. have shown Maya and her mom that a trophy at the end isn’t the most important thing.
“Even if they don’t win, it doesn’t matter,” Terra says. “They learn those skills and they learn all kinds of cool words that will help them no matter what they do.”
But certainly winning would be pretty nice.
“I’ll just be really happy and I’ll be grateful that all the work paid off,” Maya says.
Preliminaries for the Scripps National Spelling Bee begin Tuesday, May 31st. You can watch it all on ION+.