Can You Spell "Umlaut"? Kitty Shortt of Clinton Can!

This Clinton student won local and state spelling bee contests that took her all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.


This article is written by Jared Eliot Middle School student Gabriella Vigorito, as part of an ongoing writing program in which student articles, covering a wide variety of topics, are published on the Clinton Patch.

Would you be able to spell “Umlaut,” “Ramada,” and “Dyslexia?”

Kitty Shortt is a young girl who currently attends Eliot Middle School in Clinton, Connecticut.

At the time of the spelling bee, she went to Abraham Pierson School and when they decided to participate in the New Haven Register Spelling Bee as a school, on March 20, 2012, she was very excited and hoped to do well. She was surprised and happy.

Her teachers, Mrs. Madura and Mrs. Bowen from Pierson came to see her compete. Because of all her hard work she actually won the New Haven Register Spelling Bee.

Then she proudly qualified onto the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Shortt says the entire experience was nerve racking. But it was also a lot of fun. She spent an entire week in the Washington D.C. area with her parents and had a great time. Her favorite non spelling bee activity that week was going to the International Spy Museum.

The spelling bee was organized by SCRIPPS E. Howard a newspaper company that sponsored the spelling bee. Now, it’s known as the Scripps Spelling Bee. They called her to Washington D. C. the week of the National Spelling Bee. It was May 27th-June 1st. So her whole family went down to support her.

In round one, with over 500 people in the audience and 277 people against her everyone had to take computerized spelling tests with 50 words in which only 25 words would be scored. Passing this round, she confidently moved on to the next round.

In round two and three, the contestants had to go up to the microphone and spell a word correctly. In round two, she spelled the word ‘escargot’ correctly.

But then, in round three she spelled ‘leucoryx’ incorrectly which means ''a small African antelope.''

And any spelling bee contestants know that the word you get wrong is the word you will remember for the rest of your life. Shortt did not make it to the semi-finals but she was able to watch it live in the auditorium with all the other chosen contestants from all over the world.

She was also chosen to be the representative from the State of Connecticut to sit on stage during spelling bee finals on ESPN. She said “That was really fun” she saw all of the final rounds up close on stage with the contestants.

Shortt’s advice for other spellers is to study hard and practice a little bit every day to really get the words into your head. Also Shortt said her time at the spelling bee was a lot of fun and she was proud to be able to participate in the National Spelling Bee.

She loved being in National Harbor, Maryland, where the bee took place. It was so much fun meeting new people from all over the world Shortt says. All of the spellers were issued autograph books with a short bio of all the spellers and were encouraged to get as many autographs as possible. Shortt had a lot of fun walking around meeting other kids from all over the United States (and the world) and getting their autographs.

There were a lot of activities throughout the week to meet other kids and hang out.

Shortt said, “It was so much fun competing and everyone was very supportive and cheered one another on throughout the week.”

There were BBQ's and ice cream socials and they also had time to explore Washington D.C.

Besides spelling, Shortt loves soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and dance. She also loves to read, draw and hang out with her friends and family.

Shortt really appreciated the support she received, saying “Everyone from town was so supportive and encouraging to me throughout the entire experience, which I really appreciated. I was so overwhelmed by all of the support and will remember it forever.”

Although Shortt loved the experience she has no plans to compete again in the future.

-- Gabriella Vigorito

Michael BonTempo, Jr. December 02, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Congratulations on a job well done, Kitty. You represented the town of Clinton, your school, your family and yourself in fine fashion. Nice article, Gabriella!
Pat Healey December 02, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Congratulations to a very special person. Success will always come your way. Good luck ..
Kristen Dillon December 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Great article, Gabby. You are a special young lady with a lot of heart! So great to see your article posted :) And kudos to Kitty, as well!


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