Emily Keaton is a seventh grade student at Christ Central School in Pikeville.
Nearly 300 proficient spellers have gathered at a convention center outside Washington to take part in the preliminary rounds of the National Spelling Bee.
The 278 spellers range in age from 6 to 15. Six-year-old Lori Anne Madison of Lake Ridge, Va., is the youngest ever to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The field also includes three of last year's finalists.
13-year old Emily Keaton is the only Kentucky student taking part in the spelling bee. Keaton is a seventh grade student at Christ Central School in Pikeville. Emily has been playing piano since she was four, and she now has an after-school job teaching piano. She is the forward on her school’s basketball team, captain of the school academic team and president of the student council.
The spellers are taking a 50-word computerized test Tuesday. Twenty-five of the words count toward their preliminary-round score. Each competitor will spell two words onstage Wednesday, with three points for each correct word.
Results will be announced Wednesday afternoon, when the field is winnowed to no more than 50 semifinalists. The semifinals and finals are Thursday.
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