McClure Junior High School eighth-grader Alia Abiad has advanced to the Scripps National Bee Finals in Washington, D.C., which will be broadcast live on ESPN Thursday at 7 p.m. local time.
The 14-year-old’s qualifying word in the semifinals was “misère” (pronounced mizer), which is a French word for destitution.
The semifinals took place Thursday morning and went six rounds. Students also took written tests for the preliminary and semifinals. The combined written and oral scores determined the twelve finalists in the Bee.
The championship finals consist of rounds or oral spelling and continuing until a champion (or co-champions) are declared, according to the Scripps contest rules.
The national champion receives more than $33,000 in cash and prizes. The winner is also crowned during prime time.
This is Alia’s second appearance in the Bee. Last year she placed 19th in the national spelling contest.
Alia and her family’s expenses to Washington. D.C., are being covered by ComEd, the company’s seventh consecutive year of sponsoring the Cook County suburban champion.
Her classmates and friends at McClure also happen to be in Washington this week for their school’s class trip.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is open to students between the ages of 8 and 15, although a large percentage of the competitors are between the ages of 12 and 14.