SOMETIMES it is difficult enough to spell words in English, let alone another language.
But Alissa Hadley has proved she has what it takes to overcome tongue-twisting Spanish spellings – she is through to the national final of a tough spelling bee competition.
The Year 7 pupil, from Crookhorn College, Waterlooville, has beaten thousands of other students to make it to the final of the Routes into Language spelling bee.
Around 74,000 pupils from across the country entered but only 100 are in the final at Anglia Ruskin University.
To make it even more difficult, the words are read out in English and must be repeated back in Spanish and then spelled using the Spanish alphabet.
Competitors have to spell as many words correctly as possible in 60 seconds.
Alissa said: ‘I really love Spanish so I think that helps.
‘The funny thing is, I’m not that good at spelling in English, which is bizarre and makes my friends laugh.
‘I actually find it easier to spell in other languages.
‘I’m not really nervous because I love learning languages.
‘And I know when I’m competing that everyone else is in the same boat as me.
‘It’s a really good atmosphere.
‘In my most recent practice I spelled 22 words correctly in one minute.
‘That’s my best ever.’
Alissa credits children’s cartoon character Dora the Explorer with inspiring her love of travel and languages.
It is the first time languages teacher Michaela Bishop has entered the school into the competition and three other pupils got through to the regional heats – Amber Faull, Esther Cole and Rachel Ashby.
She said: ‘It’s a great way of getting pupils interested in learning a language.
‘We think it’s vital We were very successful in the regional final and all the girls did really well.
‘The world is getting smaller and we think it’s vital for children to learn a language. They will need it when they travel and to compete in the job market.
‘We are so proud of all the pupils who entered and now we can’t wait to see Alissa in action.’
Spelling bees are only just emerging in the UK but are a huge part of American school life.
The competition is on July 3.
Could you have got them right?
Here are some of the words that Alissa had to spell...
Hello – hola
Red – rojo
Thirty – treinta
American – Americano
Brown – marrón
Mexico – Mexico
Fountain pen – pluma fuente
To live – vivir
One hundred – cien
House – casa
Cat – gato
Wine – vino