Virginia Beach teen ready for E-X-C-I-T-I-N-G Scripps National Spelling Bee

Pahrto Asadi
Posted at 6:49 AM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 10:28:45-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - When the Scripps National Spelling Bee begins on Tuesday, it will be 14-year-old Skeyla Asadi representing the Hampton Roads area.

Does she feel pressure? A little. But whenever she starts to get nervous, the eighth grader at Great Neck Middle School says she just turns it into E-X-C-I-T-E-M-E-N-T.

"I mean, of course I feel nervous because I've never experienced something like this, but, you know, you always have to think positively," Asadi, who goes by her middle name, "Partho," told News 3 over Zoom this week.

Asadi, who speaks two languages, says she first learned she was a good speller in dance class, when the dancers were tasked with learning French words.

After that, it didn't take long for the National Spelling Bee to become a goal.

Asadi says she initially tied for first at her school spelling bee in December before winning a tiebreaker. Then, in February, she won a regional competition to qualify for the national bee, she says.

Located in Washington, D.C., the Scripps National Spelling Bee features 234 teen and preteen competitors from across the country, including 11 from Virginia and 13 from North Carolina.

The preliminary competition starts Tuesday, May 31, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and then the finals on Thursday, June 2.

Asadi says her strategy centers around preparation — "studying endlessly," as she puts it, so she can feel as confident as possible.

"When you have self-confidence, it will take you a very long way. Having a positive mindset will, like, push you to like do better, perform better and work to the best of your ability," she told News 3. "I'm really looking forward to meeting other people who are also competing."

Asadi, who's sponsored by WHRO Public Media in Norfolk, says she and her parents will leave for D.C. on Sunday.

ION Plus will carry the first two rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, with the semifinals and finals broadcast on ION and Bounce.