Exemplary: an adjective meaning serving as an example to others; superior or outstanding.
It is a word Lilly Cassidy cannot only define and use in a sentence, but the fifth grader can also spell it without any problem.
Cassidy recently won the Sedalia Middle School Spelling Bee by spelling the word “proofread” and will now have the opportunity to represent the district at the Scripps National Spelling Bee the week of May 22 in National Harbor, Maryland.
“I was really surprised when I won because I don’t really focus on spelling a lot,” Cassidy said. “I don’t really like it that much but I like the challenge of trying to spell words that are difficult.
“I really don’t have a method for it, I can just do it,” Cassidy added. “I do like really weird words though.”
According to Cassidy, the fifth grade students took a written vocabulary test in their English classes, then the top five students from each team went on to compete in an oral “traditional” spelling bee at the middle school.
Cassidy said her class didn’t have a spelling bee last year but she would like to compete next year if the Junior High participates in the program.
Before thinking too far ahead, Cassidy is getting ready for the trip this summer.
“The Scripps website has some study tours that will begin in April so I will do those for practice,” Cassidy said. “Sometimes my mom and dad will give me words when we are going someplace in the car for me to spell and we practice like that.
“It’s really neat because my family was thinking about taking a trip to Washington D.C. so now we can all go together,” Cassidy added. “I’m really nervous about it, but I think it will be fun too.”
Her parents, Liz and Mike Cassidy. and brother John Cassidy, who is 8, were both excited and surprised when Cassidy returned home from school with the news of her win.
The family has hopes to visit the Washington National Zoo, the Smithsonian Institute and the White House as well as other venues on the trip, according to Cassidy.
Not only does she have the support of her family but her teachers, classmates and the middle school staff are rooting for her to do well, according to Janelle Thorne, Cassidy’s language arts teacher.
“Lilly is someone who loves to learn and she seeks every opportunity she has to do so,” Thorne said. “She has such a rich vocabulary and she reads extensively.
“As a student, she is well above average and just very studious,” Thorne added. “This just really is a great privilege and opportunity and we are all pulling for her and supporting her when she goes to compete.”
Cassidy agreed with her teacher that her love of reading has helped to develop her spelling skills.
“I read a lot, all the time,” Cassidy said. “I like art and music too and I think I’m creative — I love to draw and I’ve been involved in show choir and I play the piano and clarinet and study tap and jazz dance too.
“I’m not bad at math, and I really don’t have a favorite class,” Cassidy added. “I really like spending time with my friends Mackenzie (Allison) and McKenna (Koch) and my family.”
Allison and Koch are alternates for the Middle School team and if Cassidy or second place winner Alyssa Gear or Micah Clark, who finished third, cannot attend, one of them would have the opportunity to attend.
“My friends are excited for me and they are helping me study too,” Cassidy said. “I’m really nervous but I am going to go and do the best I can do.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484