Daria Willis is no stranger to the statewide spelling bee. This was the MOT Charter sixth grader's second time attending the statewide bee.
Willis, 10 of Bear, placed in the top 10 in last year's event, as well.
Willis was among more than 60 students to compete on Saturday at St. Mark's High School in Wilmington.
After lasting through 30 rounds and through more than four hours, Willis came face to face with Sanford seventh grader Lillian Allingham. Willis got stuck on the word, "collusion," and was not able to clinch the title, but celebrated a victory anyhow with second place.
Allingham will go on to the National Scripps Spelling Bee in May.
Sometimes" you have a really big word and you don't know if you can spell it," Willis told the Middletown Transcript Monday. "You might get mixed up with an 'a' or an 'o' because they sound the same. 'Collusion' was the last word I spelled, but I spelled with an 'a.'
According to Daria's mother, Elena, Daria has always had a passion for reading. The 10-year-old is even growing up bilingual, learning both English and Russian.
"When she was just 3 years old, she began deciphering the Russian alphabet by asking me questions about the letters and sounds that they made, Elana Willis said. "Within several weeks, she was reading in her second language without being instructed in it."
Daria has a love for fiction and wants to be an author when she grows us, Elena Willis said. The aspiring writer's first poem, "The Hill She Wasn't Supposed to be On" was published in "The Acclaimed Poetry Book" by the American Library of Poetry.
"She put a lot of hard work into the Bee and we are very proud of her achievement," Elana Willis said.