TAZEWELL, Va. —
Tazewell Middle School student Hadrian Reeves studies for her next competition by spelling words like “philagllenism” when her parents call them out. This dedication to study is sending her to the Scripps Spelling Bee in late May.
Reeves, 12, now attends the sixth grade at Tazewell Middle. She had to first win her school’s spelling bee, and then the regional spelling bee on March 20.
“The winning word was ‘impede,’” she recalled. “Some of the hard words were ones like ‘zingy.’”
This is Hadrian’s first year of competing in spelling bees.
“The first one I competed in was the Tazewell Middle School Spelling Bee. I signed up for it,” she said. “I thought it would be a good experience to see if that was what I was good at.”
Her parents, John and Susan Reeves, help her study every night for upcoming spelling bees.
“We just study really hard, and frequently, too,” Hadrian said. “They will call out a word and I will spell it in return.”
Susan Reeves said her daughter is now studying a 10-page list of words broken down by country of origin. The words are extremely difficult, and a lot of study has gone into learning how to pronounce them properly. Watching a spelling bee in progress is especially exciting, she added.
“She’s very excited about it,” Susan Reeves said. “We knew she was an excellent speller. We knew she would do well, but you’re still on the edge of your seat and hoping they’ll do well. I didn’t anticipate that. We tried to prepare as best we could, but we were so anxious; more than she was, actually.”
Friends and family are now raising money so Hadrian will be able to compete in the Scripps Spelling Bee at the National Harbor in Maryland on May 25 to 31.
“The Tazewell County Fair Association was very generous and gave her $1,200 for the trip. That’s excellent; however, it’s being held at National Harbor. This is more expensive, so we’re doing a fundraiser to try and cover the difference,” Susan Reeves said.
People who wish to contribute can send donations to the Thompson Valley Community Center, care of Hadrian Reeves Spelling Bee Fund, 8925 Thompson Valley Road, Tazewell, Va. 24651.
Hadrian Reeves participates in community service as well as spelling bees, her mother said. She has donated her hair to Locks of Love, a program designed to help cancer patients, and asks friends and family to use money they would have spent on birthday presents for a different purpose. For the last two years, she has asked them to give donations to the Tazewell County Animal Shelter on her birthday.