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'Do my best': Omaha girl heads to Scripps National Spelling Bee for second time

Posted at 10:16 AM, May 25, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — School is out for many students and while many are hitting the neighborhood park one Omaha girl you may recognize is getting some last-minute studying in before she heads to the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the second year in a row.


"I am really looking forward to being on that stage again because it made me feel really special and it was a really great experience that I will never forget," said Sarah Fernandes, an Omaha 6th grader, a piano prodigy, and spelling bee wiz, who is in the final days of preparation for the big stage.

"I am still just looking through word lists and looking at the dictionary and using the study tools they provided,” Fernandes said.

Sarah says her preparation helped last year but she said a lot of it is just luck with the words you get.

While she was mostly excited it was nerve-wracking too.

"There is like 10 minutes before you even spell, so it's kind of weird like you have to just sit there and be like what word am I going to get, and how is it going to be like and what word is this person getting,” Fernandes said.

You may remember last year Sarah shared her favorite word with me, she spelled it too.

She has a new favorite word this year.

"So this year my favorite word is retablo, it's a word that I got from the semifinals that took me to the finals and it's a really beautiful word to me. It’s r-e-t-a-b-l-o."

"A word you will always remember you think?" Reporter Molly Hudson asked.

“Yeah, I do because it brought my dreams to come try," Fernandes said.

Last year she tied for 10th at the bee and was the youngest to make it to the finals. Her goal this year…

"This year is to just do my best because anything can happen and it’s just a really big accomplishment just to be here, so I am going to keep doing the very best that I can," Fernandes said.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee prelims start on May 28th. You can watch and cheer for Sarah on ION Plus.