3 students from Edmonton to compete in national spelling bee

Three Edmonton students are heading to Toronto to compete in the 35th Spelling Bee of Canada.

Fourteen regional finalists per age category will participate in the first in-person championship since 2019.

Sarah Lahlal, 11, and Anhad Singh, 8, will compete for the first time.

“My teacher, she is testing me at least 100 words every day, and I have 100 words left to do,” Lahlal told CTV News Edmonton.

“I practise every day and skip one class so I can go see a teacher, and they’ll test me orally.”

Fourteen-year-old Rebha Badhan has competed since the second grade.

“It provides a challenge for me so I can challenge myself, my knowledge, my listening, and my ability to spell difficult words,” Badhan said.

“They give you a list of 400 words which you have to study,” she added. “Then, after three or four preliminary rounds (of competition), a tie-breaker round comes where they ask any word they want.

“That’s really hard to study for.”

While it might be hard to prepare, the competitors are using every chance they can.

“I practise two hours with my dad every day from the dictionary and the list,” Singh said.

“I use a technique like my mom will test me on the words,” Lahlal said. “I’ll write it out, and then whatever words I got wrong, she’ll test me again on those words.”

While their parents are hoping the kids bring home a win, they think they’re likely to get something else out of it.

“He’s just eight years old, and I think it’s a good start for him for the future as well,” said Vikrimjit Singh, Anhad’s dad.

“As a family, as a parent, we are proud of her,” said Rebha’s dad, Balvir Badham. “She’s learning in a good way, and it will be really helpful to her.”

“It’s always good to try something new,” said Martha Lestari, Lahlal’s mom.

The competition begins on June 12.

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