Ramstad’s Rickert Washington-bound

Erik Ramstad Middle School seventh-grader Madeline Rickert is both excited and nervous to represent North Dakota at the 2014-2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee May 25-31.

Madeline, 13, won both the Ward County Spelling Bee and then North Dakota Spelling Bee earlier this spring. She was also the 2013 Ward County Spelling Bee Champion, but didn’t make nationals last year.

This year her goal was to make it to nationals, though she wasn’t entirely sure she’d be successful.

Madeline said she is studying spelling words on a website used by state finalists who will be competing at the national spelling bee. Some of the words given in the second and third rounds seem harder than those she spelled at the state spelling bee, she said.

It helps that Madeline is an avid reader, since she is familiar with more words and she is better able to guess at the language root or origin of an unfamiliar word. Madeline said she is currently a big fan of dystopian science fiction novels like the popular “Divergent” series by Veronica Roth and “Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins.

When she goes to the national competition, she said she is looking forward to seeing the museums and maybe the national zoo along with other sights in the nation’s capital. She is a little more nervous about being on TV since national spelling bee is televised. The young competitors will first take a written test and the top scorers on the written exam will go on to compete in an oral spelldown. But Madeline said all of the kids are supposed to get one chance to spell on television.

Prizes at the national spelling bee range from a $100 Visa gift card for students who only compete in the preliminaries to more than $30,000 in prizes for the champion, with other cash prizes awarded to some of the finalists.