Correct Spelling of 'Balsam' Earns Herrick Middle School Student Trip to National Spelling Bee

Credit: Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Credit: Downers Grove Grade School District 58

Herrick Middle School eighth-grade student Nafisa Asad is headed to the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. at the end of May.

Balsam was the final word she correctly spelled to win the DuPage County Spelling Bee at Wheaton North High School on Feb. 26, besting 27 other third- through eighth-grade contestants.

Asad, who said she loves to read and loves words, qualified to participate in the county bee by finishing in the top two in the Herrick/O’Neill spelling bee on Feb. 10, along with seventh-grader Dana Scott.

It was not Asad’s first time competing in the county bee, having qualified for that level of competition in both fifth and sixth grade, and she said this year’s contestants were asked to spell similar words. 

To prepare for the county bee, Asad studied the word list on the Scripps website. Among the words she was asked to spell on Feb. 26 were shipperke, azimuth, zeitgeber and schadenfreude.

Asad said she is very excited for her trip to Washington, D.C., but also very nervous about the national competition because it will be televised. Studying for the national spelling bee will also be much more involved, she said.

“They can ask you any word in the dictionary, so when I won the county bee, they gave me a huge dictionary,” Asad said.

Commonwealth Edison is sponsoring an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for Nafisa and her parents, Asad and Farah Cheema. 

Credit: Downers Grove Grade School District 58


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