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Rachel Money
Rachel Money (S&S)

Name: Rachel MoneyAge: 13Title: DODDS-Europe Spelling Bee champion.(Day job: Seventh-grader at Baumholder Middle/High School)

In May, Rachel will travel to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She correctly spelled “comestibles” to win the DODDS-Europe spelling bee.

What are comestibles? It’s anything you can eat.

Anything I can eat. So hamburgers, hot dogs, fingernails? Yes.

Refresh my memory on what your favorite word is? It’s antidisestablishmentarianism.

Wow. That’s how many letters long? Twenty-eight, I think.

Why is that your favorite word? There’s gotta be a story behind that. My friend told me to spell it one day, and I did. We started making a big joke about it around school. I sort of got hooked on the word.

What was the joke? People were talking to me about spelling and were like, “I can spell this word.” I’m like, “Well, I can spell ‘antidisestablishmentarianism.’” They’re like, “What’s that?” I looked it up, and it was actually in the dictionary.

What is the definition? It’s the disestablishment of the Church of England in the 1800s.

Did you have to spell that word? I spelled it as one of my favorite words. We use our favorite words for a [microphone] test to make sure it works.

Care to give it a try again? Sure. A-n-t-i-d-i-s-e-s-t-a-b-l-i-s-h-m-e-n-t-a-r-i-a-n-i-s-m.

Good job. How do you study for your competitions? We study in this booklet. … We just study every night for two hours.

And that’s after you’ve finished all your regular homework? And softball practice.

Those two hours, that’s when to when? Sometimes 6 to 8. Sometimes 7 to 9.

Wow. So no “American Idol” or anything like that? No. We watch it. We sort of multitask.

Very nice. Can you spell “Sanjaya” for me? You really want me to?

Yeah. S-a-n-j-a-y-a.

I don’t know if it’s correct. I think it is.

Do you have any sort of pregame or pre-spelling bee ritual that you do? Warm-ups? Anything you do to get in the mind-set? I get a good sleep, and I eat pasta for dinner. That’s what I do before swim meets. I’m just used to doing that before anything hard.

Do you have a knack for memorization or sounding out words? If I see the word just once, then I can remember how to spell it. If I’ve never seen the word before, I just guess — most of the time.

Interview by Steve Mraz.

Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to: news@mail.estripes.osd.mil

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