PITTSFIELD -- Twelve-year-old city resident Lydia Loverin won't appear on ESPN tonight, but she was one of 46 students who earned a coveted spot in this week's 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals.
Loverin, a sixth-grade student at the Mountain Road School in New Lebanon, N.Y., appeared on stage as speller No. 152 on Thursday afternoon and was asked to spell "velutinous." According to reports from the Albany Times Union, Loverin's sponsor, she misspelled the word by one letter, saying to the judges "v-o-l-u-t-i-n-o-u-s." And so dinged the bell signaling the end of Loverin's run.
The 12 youths competing in the 87th annual National Spelling Bee championship finals at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. will be broadcast live tonight at 8 on ESPN.
Loverin's spelling skills stood out among the initial 281 spellers who started off in the national competition.
Loverin won the Capital Region Spelling Bee, which was sponsored by the Times Union, on Feb. 11 at Proctors Theater in Schenectady after correctly spelling "apparatchik," which means an obedient and devoted member of an organization. She competed in her first spelling bee against 111 other students from the region, the Times Union reported.
The children of the Loverin family are regular participants in the annual Children's Short Story Writing contest sponsored by the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield. Lydia has earned first place awards in her age category for the past three years. Her last winning entry was titled "Automaton."
Last year, according to the Times Union, she self-published a book that she wrote for the National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program, known as NaNoWriMo, in which students write a novel between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30.
According to her profile on the Scripps National Spelling Bee website, spellingbee.com, Loverin's role model is Neil Gaiman because he is a successful fantasy author who also helps students discover their own writing styles.
In her free time, she takes piano lessons and performs in various productions presented by the Berkshire Theatre Group. Her profile says her interest in acting combined with a love of fantasy and science fiction has encouraged her to explore the pop culture worlds of steampunk and cosplay.
She is active in 4-H, previously winning a state award for a visual presentation.
She also participates in clubs such as the Berkshire Humane Society's Humane Heroes and likes to conduct presentations on sustainable resources.
Before every spelling bee, Loverin says she has a cup of hot tea to calm the nerves and never forgets to don her good luck charm, a necklace with a small elephant pendant.
For live updates on tonight's competition via Twitter, follow @ScrippsBee and use the #spellingbee hashtag.