Stellar speller heads to Washington

One hour a day on the computer.

That’s how much time Maggy Lambo is spending to prepare for the national spelling bee.

Lambo, a sixth-grader at Mayfield Elementary School, will be head to Washington, D.C., on Sunday to compete against nearly 300 other contestants from across the nation in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will take place Tuesday through Friday.

Lambo, who won the right to compete in the national bee after winning the Fulton County Spelling Bee in March, has been studying almost every night in recent weeks in preparation for the bee.

Using a list of 1,600 words to study, Lambo has been spending an hour a night with a section of the list at a time. Words such as “grandiloquence” and “salubrious” appear on the study list.

“Some of them are really hard. I mean, they are tough to pronounce,” said Maggy’s father, John Lambo.

“I went online each night and did a few of the lists and I printed them out and had my parents ask me a question, and I would spell it for them,” Maggy said.

To get to the national bee, Lambo had to win the county bee, which was organized and sponsored by The Leader-Herald.

In the county bee, Lambo went head to head with her sister Molly in the final round before spelling “reprehensible” and “pronouncement” correctly for the win.

Maggy said she was kind of hoping her older sister would win because, as an eighth-grader, Molly was competing in her final year of eligibility.

“It was tough. We were rooting for both of them,” John Lambo said. “We are all proud of Maggy. We are proud of both of them.”

John Lambo said Maggy and Molly study constantly and read regularly, which he says is why his daughters earn good grades in school.

“Maggy probably reads a book every other day,” John Lambo said.

A total of 281 spellers will compete for the title of 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. For the champion, the prizes includes a $30,000 cash prize, the Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a library of reference materials.

Lambo will leave for Washington on Sunday with her parents and her sister. The family plans to go to the Aerospace Museum and look at other attractions while in the capital.

The newspaper, which is sponsoring Lambo’s trip, began organizing the county bee 20 years ago. Before that, students had to compete in Schenectady, Publisher Patricia Beck said.

Arthur Cleveland covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at