WESTFIELD, NJ — Aashi Mishra spent seven months this winter and spring studying spelling, language patterns and root words three to four hours each weeknight and seven hours on Saturdays and Sundays. At the same time, she was excelling in her 8th grade classes at Edison Intermediate School, preparing for the entrance exam for the Union County Magnet High School and playing center defender for NJ Elite Soccer.
Aashi’s hard work paid off with an invitation to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., last week, where she correctly spelled all of her stage words, but was eliminated before the final televised round on May 31. This year’s 565 participants took a written spelling and vocabulary test prior to stage spelling; points from that test were combined with points accumulated onstage to determine which students would advance to the final round.
This was Aashi’s second trip to the national bee, which she credits with boosting her confidence, study habits and time management skills. She says her favorite subject in school is “definitely math,” but believes that her spelling bee preparation will help her achieve her goal of being a well-rounded student.
The one thing that trips her up in spelling bees?
“French!” Aashi exclaimed. “French words are the most difficult for all spellers. If you don’t already know the word, there can be a lot of guessing.”
Aashi’s father, Krishna Mishra, was able to travel with her to the national bee this year and has always encouraged her to do her best.
“I always tell her, ‘Just be confident,’” he said.
Aashi and her parents moved to Westfield at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, and say they are thankful for the environment they’ve encountered at Edison Intermediate School.
“My friends have been really supportive and encouraging,” said Aashi. She pointed to Edison Vice Principal Crystal Marsh as one of her biggest supporters.
Aashi’s parents Krishna and Sushmita decided to settle in Westfield for an easy commute to New York City and good schools for their daughter.
“Westfield is a fantastic town,” said Sushmita Mishra. “The teachers have been very encouraging from day one of school, which did make the experience easier.”
Aashi described aging out of the Scripps bee as “bittersweet.”
“The spelling bees come with some nerves, but the joy outweighs the nerves. I’ve made a lot of friends, and we’re all very supportive of each other because we know what it’s like if we spell a word wrong. I was a little disappointed not to make it to the final round, but it was fine. It’s been a good experience but I’m ready to close the chapter,” she said.
Aashi will travel to her native India this summer to spend a month with relatives there, and then will use the remainder of the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year. She is looking forward to her freshman year at Union County Magnet High School, plans to continue playing soccer and now, with some extra hours on her hands, hopes to get back to playing guitar.
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