Jordan Hoffman could barely contain her excitement after spelling “syllabus” correctly.

Jordan Hoffman could barely contain her excitement after spelling “syllabus” correctly.

“I was confident I knew it because I had studied it,” said the eighth grader at Pleasant Lea Middle School in Lee’s Summit. “I also knew that I was going to get another opportunity to go to nationals again. I am so thankful.”

Jordan won the 2012 Jackson County Spelling Bee Saturday at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. This is the third consecutive year she has won the top prize, and the third time she will be competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which begins May 30 in Washington, D.C. The Jackson County Spelling Bee was sponsored by the Mid-Continent Public Library, LINC and the Kansas City Public Library.

Shaurir Ramanujan, a student at Academy Montessori International, placed second.

“I have been studying words, especially any really difficult words that I don’t know,” Jordan said of her preparation. “My family has quizzed me, and I have looked at a lot of spelling patterns. I have also done a lot of praying.”

The national spelling bee will begin with the written test. Spellers must spell 25 words. Each word is recited with pronunciations, part of speech, origin and definition. It will also be used in a sentence. Each word is worth one point and all spellings count toward the preliminary score.

Following the written test, spellers will participate in the preliminary rounds and earn points for each correct word. The overall score will be used to determine who moves on to the semifinals.

During the 2011 national bee, Jordan improved her score on the written exam and also spelled her words correctly in the two qualifying rounds. However, it was not enough to move her on in the competition.

“I think every year that you have more experience is going to continue to help how you do in the competition,” she said. “I am just thankful that there was a spelling bee this year and that I get to continue to compete.”

Another area student, Sam Chinnery, a seventh grader at Summit Christian Academy in Lee’s Summit, also will be competing at the national spelling bee. He was named the 2012 Association of Christian Schools International Spelling Bee Champion after competing at the event in Texas. Carolyn Herrera, an eighth grader at SCA, placed fifth and was named an alternate.

Jordan said she has not set a specific goal as to how she wants to do at the national spelling bee. She said what is important is that she does the best she can on the national stage.

“I am going to do the best I can possibly do,” she said. “I am going to work hard, pray and be at peace with whatever the outcome. That is my goal.”