Stay weather aware Thursday

Blind Student to Compete in National Spelling Bee

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- A fifth grader from Oklahoma is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington. Unlike most of her competitors, Richelle Zampella
is blind.

The 11-year-old attends the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee. She's been learning to read and type braille since the age of five.

"When I had her in kindergarten, by the end of the year she was reading on a second grade level. in braille! and it just takes a lot to learn braille," said Zampella's teacher, Cindy Lumpkin.

In March, the fifth grader competed with 100 students at the Eastern Oklahoma State Spelling Bee. She won after 16 rounds with the reigning 2011 champ. The winning word was stollen which is a German bread.

Zampella says being blind doesn't stop her from reaching her goals.

"At the school they teach you you can do anything you want," she said.

The fifth-grader feels like anyone can be a good speller if they try and that it's not a special gift. She spends two hours a day studying. The town of Muskogee will be watching and cheering on May 30th as she takes the big stage.

"I know she'll do her best and that's what matters," said Richelle's mom, Sheila Zampella.

Her number one fan and five-year-old sister Katelynn will also be excited for her big sister take the stage. She hopes follow in her sister's footsteps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.