Oneonta Middle School Student Heading to National Spelling Bee

Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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ONEONTA (WBNG) -- Daanya Butt was in elementary school when a seed was planted in her mind, one that would eventually lead her to success today.

“The first idea of a spelling bee that was ever plugged in my mind was in third grade when my teacher offhandedly mentioned it. I didn’t really remember it until recently at the school spelling bee, and then I remembered that I want to do something like that since the third grade, even if it was a mild feeling, it was still there” said now seventh-grader Butt.

Her dream became a reality when Butt decided to join her school’s Spelling Bee Club, which held their own competition. “I joined and I didn’t really think it was going to be like this this whole big thing, but then I won that and it felt really exhilarating”.

After winning her school-wide competition, Butt moved on to the regional level hosted by Oneonta’s ‘The Daily Star’. She brought the competition into it’s 16th round, winning the event with the word ‘quittance’.

“And then I won the regional and it was like wow” Butt said she was stunned after her win on the regional level. At the end of April, Butt and her family will head to Washington D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“It is very nerve-racking because this is the competition; the big thing; the big one” said Butt, she continued. “There’s like the best spellers from so many regions across the country, it’s pretty nerve-racking when you remember that. Then, you remember that you fit in that category, and it’s like ‘do I belong here?’ “.

Butt gives credit to her mother for helping her with the studying process. “My mom will usually have me read aloud the words on a page, and then she’ll let me read them mentally a couple of times. Then she’ll take it away and she’ll read out the words and I’ll spell them for her. When I get one wrong, she’ll underline it and then she’ll give it back to me, and we keep doing that. I hope to do that with the dictionary as well soon, instead of the normal spelling words that they give me, so I have a broader spectrum to work with”.

From a third-grade dream to a seventh-grade reality, Daanya Butt says she is ready for the challenges that may lie ahead. For now, it’s back to the dictionary.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee will air nationally on June 2nd on the Ion Network.

To learn more about the Scripps National Spelling Bee you can visit their website here.