AUBURN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Epithalamium; a song or poem in honor of a bride and bridegroom. It’s also the word that advanced 12-year-old Auburn resident Emma Sroka to the semi-final round for the National Spelling Bee.
“So something usually just comes into my head of like my first idea of what I should spell it as and then I ask more questions just to make sure,” Skora said.
Emma’s been competing in the National Spelling Bee for the past two years starting when she was in fifth grade, but this is the farthest she’s ever gone.
“Well I always had pretty good grades in ELA and I liked reading and I already knew a lot of words before I started the spelling bee so then I knew a lot more after doing it the first couple years,” she said.
But this time around the competition was different because of the pandemic. Each round has been held virtually which presented some obstacles.
“It took three hours I think because there were so many kids getting disconnected and so many technology problems and some kids you couldn’t even hear them or their cameras weren’t working,” she said.
She’s been able to overcome those obstacles with the support of her family and her spelling coach, both of which she credits with helping her get this far and while she’s nervous for the next round she says she’s ready.
“I think the next round is probably the most exciting is that it’s going to be on actual TV, ESPN and they’re going to say some stuff about each speller,” she said.
Emma will be competing in the semi-finals against 29 other spellers from around the country on Sunday, June 27 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., and will be streamed on ESPN2.
Unlike previous years, all rounds, except the finals, will be held virtually.
This year, the finals will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. Usually, the spelling bee takes place in Washington D.C.