Compass student participating in national spelling bee

For the second time, Madison Johnson, a Compass Academy Charter School student, will be participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Bee Week began Sunday and runs through Friday, with the competition running from Monday through Thursday, the bee website said. 

The event will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Fort Washington, Md., the site said. 

Johnson, who will be going into ninth grade in the fall, joins Anika Gundlapalli, a seventh-grader at Nimitz Middle School, and her brother, Ajay, a third-grader at Reagan Magnet Elementary, at the bee.

Johnson, 14, applied through Scripps’ RSVbee program. Yvonne Asakawa, spelling bee representative and art teacher at Compass, said RSVbee tries to give underrepresented areas more of an opportunity send students to the bee. 

“Lots of states are very underrepresented. Our area was one of them. That’s how she was able to apply,” Asakawa said. 

Last year, Johnson said, she and Gundlapalli tied for 42nd out of 515 spellers. 

This year, Johnson said there will be approximately 596 spellers. 

“I’ve been studying, taking lot of tests on it and trying to remember all the words,” Johnson said.

Asakawa said Scripps offers online practice tests so students can work on their skills. 

Scripps offers online tests as practice for them to work on their skills, she said. 

Johnson left Saturday for the bee. 

Asakawa said they start with a written test and have to do word association and vocabulary. After that, depending on what they score, they move on to the next step. 

Johnson said she has been involved in spelling bees for many years. 

“I don’t know how to describe it. I just like competing and doing well in spelling,” she said.

Her favorite subject in school is social studies. 

Johnson said she plans to become an anesthesiologist when she gets older. 

Asakawa said there were practice sessions for the school bee and she has conducted study sessions in her room with Johnson to prepare for the national bee. 

“I’m very excited,” Asakawa said. “I’m very proud of her. For a 14-year to be as focused as she is has been is amazing to watch. She has amazing support from her parents. She herself has inner focus. She is determined to win. She likes winning and that’s a good thing. She’s motivated.”