, Gloucester, MA

Online Extras

May 30, 2013

Speller who practices in Braille takes second turn at national bee

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Richelle Zampella nailed two words - "capricious" and "trianon" - in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday. But the fifth-grader from the Oklahoma School for the Blind wasn't among 42 spellers advancing to the semifinals, held back by her scores on a computer test, which she took in Braille.

"Usually they take 50 semifinalists," said Cindy Lumpkin, the Oklahoma school's spelling bee coordinator. However, many contestants registered the same score on the computer test, said Lumpkin. Three had perfect scores.

"Our goal was to get in the top 50," she said, adding that Zampella, 12, was "kind of upset" with the result.

Zampella, who is visually impaired, uses Braille to practice her words and earlier this spring won a statewide competition for Braille proficiency.

She earned her trip to the National Spelling Bee in suburban Washington, D.C. - for the second year in a row - at the Eastern Oklahoma Spelling Bee in late March. There she bested more than 120 other contestants by correctly spelling lithe, phenomenon, echt, mozzarella, pernicious, surveillance, soliloquy, rendezvous and mnemonic.

Her mother noted she had been practicing for most of the past year.

“It’s just wonderful and exciting that, regardless of what disabilities you have or your lot in life, perseverance pays off,” said Carolyn Sheppard, principal of the Oklahoma School for the Blind, at the state bee.


Details for this story were reported by the Muskogee, Okla., Phoenix.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Online Extras

NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years