Jordan Hoffman, a sixth grader at Highland Park Elementary in Lee’s Summit, now has hopes to make her mark at the national level.

In 1925, Frank Neuhauser, of Louisville, Ky., became the Scripps National Spelling Bee champion after spelling the word “gladiolus.”

In 1960, Henry Feldman, of Knoxville, Tenn., won with the word “eudaemonic.”

And just last year, Olathe’s own Kavya Shivashankar won after spelling correctly “Laodicean.”

Jordan Hoffman, a sixth grader at Highland Park Elementary in Lee’s Summit, now has hopes to make her mark at the national level.

“I am really excited and thankful for this opportunity,” she said. “It is amazing to be able to do something like this.”

Jordan became the Jackson County Spelling Bee champion in March after spelling the word “gauche” correctly. The win is giving her the opportunity to represent Jackson County in the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee, which begins next week in Washington D.C.

The Examiner sponsors the Jackson County Spelling Bee.

“The feeling is exhilarating,” she said. “I have been competing in the school spelling bees since the fourth grade, but this was my first time to win. It is absolutely amazing.”

The competition begins Wednesday with the round one test. Spellers must spell 50 words using a computer keyboard. Only 25 of these will count toward the preliminary score. Preliminaries will continue Thursday with the second and third rounds. For each correct word, points are earned toward the overall score.

Thursday night, the semi-finalists will be announced. There will be no more than 50 spellers in the semifinal rounds, which will be aired live on ESPN, beginning at 9 a.m. Friday. The finals will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, live on ABC, Comcast Channel 12.

“I think any place I get will make me happy,” Jordan said. “I would like to make it to the semifinals, but I will be proud of myself no matter what happens.”

Preparation for the National Spelling Bee has been a community effort. In addition to her parents and sister Sophia, Jordan is getting help from her teachers at Highland Park and her church family at Lee’s Summit Christian Church.

Her mother Ruth Hoffman, could not be prouder.

“I think she will do really well no matter the outcome,” she said. “She is very motivated within herself to learn new words and studies every day. She is making sure she is ready.”

Through oral quizzes, flash cards and a magnetic scrabble board, Jordan said she is putting in at least 15 hours per week preparing for the national bee. In addition, she is studying other languages such as French, Latin and Greek, to get a better grasp on the language of origin for some words.

But one of the biggest helping hands is coming from a national pro - Brent Henderson.

Henderson, now a freshman at the Blue Springs Freshman Center, made it to the fifth round in the semifinals of the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee. It was the second consecutive year he attended the national competition.

“He has passed down some of his different study materials and information, which has really helped a lot,” Jordan said. “It is very thoughtful and kind for Brent and his family to be supporting us like this. It helps to know what to expect, and he is an inspiration. To know how much he studied leading up to the bee is fantastic. He really made it far.”

In addition to spelling, Jordan plays both the piano and violin and is active in her church. But her mother Ruth, said her focus continues to be in preparing for the National Spelling Bee.

“Jordan loves to read and do anything with arts and crafts,” she said. “But she is in preparation mode for the national bee. She is excited, and we can’t wait to be there to support her.”