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Savannah Middle School 7th-grader Makayla McGuire prepares for Scripps National Spelling Bee

Posted at 5:00 AM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 06:00:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Nomenclature. Defined as the body or system of names in a particular field, nomenclature is also one of the more difficult words Savanna Middle School seventh-grader Makayla McGuire, 13, of St. Joseph, had to spell on her way to the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Attacking each word strategically by breaking it into parts and using the definition or word origin to determine if a silent letter could be lurking, spelling seemingly comes naturally to Makayla.

Starting in second grade, she remembers reading challenging books. While they started off difficult to comprehend, she soon realized she could spell words from the literature without looking.

Working her way from her classroom spelling bee into her school’s spelling bee and then through the county and regional rounds, Makayla doesn't let the pressure to be accurate shake her.

“I feel nervous, but also whenever I know the word, I feel pretty confident,” Makayla said.

To prepare for the national spelling bee, Makayla says she sticks to the sanctioned spelling lists, having her parents circle any missed words to be flagged for extra attention.

Throughout the process, Makayla’s mom has been in the crowd spelling along in her head with her daughter. She joked that every so often she’ll think Makayla has spelled a word wrong and prepares for the worst, only to realize that Makayla is correct and she’s the one who made an error.

With the support of her family and a capable, calm attitude heading into the national competition, Makayla is equally anxious to see what Washington, D.C., has to offer.

"It’s really exciting, and I haven't done anything like this before," she said. "I've never been to D.C. I haven't been that far from here, honestly. So it's pretty crazy and it's really fun."