Competition kicks off with preliminary test on Tuesday

    Crookston High School seventh grader Ainsley Boucher, who won the local spelling bee, advanced from the regional spelling bee and then was the only speller among 19 to advance from the state spelling bee in Fergus Falls by correctly spelling “Svengali” - is now in Washington, D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

    Boucher, 12, is the daughter of John and Stefanie Boucher.

    For making the national bee, Boucher received airfare for two to Washington, D.C., a six-night hotel stay, and $600 in spending money.

    National Spelling Bee Week runs from May 28 to June 4. ESPN broadcasts a portion of the bee on TV.

    Approximately 11 million student spellers from fifth through eighth grade across the United States initially competed in their local bees. Now, it’s down to Boucher and 290 other young spellers at the national bee.

    Boucher is speller #228. Here’s how her profile reads on the Scripps National Spelling Bee website:

    Ainsley is a violinist with the Northern Valley Youth Orchestra and at her school. She also plays the alto saxophone in the school band, and skates with the Crookston Figure Skating Club. She is interested in Math Masters, Junior Knowledge Bowl. Ainsley loves animals, especially her dog EllieMae. Snowmobiling, skiing and figure skating are her favorite winter pastimes. Her favorite summertime activities include being at the lake, tubing and jet-skiing. Sewing, painting, drawing, clay modeling, writing and reading are her hobbies.

    Spellers on Tuesday are taking a preliminary test, which consists of 12 spelling words and 14 vocabulary words. They all took it in the same room, at the same time. Combined with the on-stage spelling Wednesday, the test will determine who moves on in the bee.