Aston Teen Makes It to 11th Place in National Spelling Bee


Phoebe Smith, a seventh grader at Northley Middle School in Aston, finished in 11th place after misspelling cabalassou Thursday night at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland, writes Robert Moran for

Merriam-Webster defines cabalassou as a giant armadillo.

The 13-year-old survived eight rounds and was among the final 16 competitors who took center stage at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington.

The championship was won by Karthik Nemmani, 14, an eighth grader from McKinney, Texas, who correctly spelled the word “koinonia,”

Phoebe tied for 10th place in 2018 and took 189th place in 2017.

There were a total of 516 children who qualified for the nationals this year.

On May 26, Phoebe headed to Maryland after out-spelling 48 other Delaware County middle school students in February’s countywide spelling bee at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit in Morton.

The DCIU championship win was a third for Phoebe. Phoebe was named champion after spelling the word “chaplain” correctly.

“I was a little nervous competing at my first national bee, but I’ve learned to take the competition one word at a time and stay composed onstage,” Phoebe said.

Read more about Phoebe Smith’s spelling experience here.

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