The Spelling Bee
1. I grew up with my parents, my sister, and my brother in Russia. My father lost his job as an engineer, so we all moved in with my father’s parents. The house was crowded with so many people living in it. Then, my whole life changed when I was ten years old. My father told us that we were all moving to America, the land of opportunity, to live.
2. After many days of sailing on a stinky ship, we finally arrived in New York City. We moved into an apartment in Manhattan. I was scared to go to school because I did not speak a word of English. As I walked into my new school, I heard the sound of laughter. I put my head down and wished with all my heart that I was still in Russia.
3. I worked very hard to learn how to speak English. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it. My teacher, Mrs. James, told my parents that she had a neighbor who would help me. The next day, Mr. Franklin came to our apartment and began teaching me how to speak English.
4. Eventually, I learned how to speak English. But it was very hard. I also learned how to read and write in English. The other kids laughed and made fun of me. But I just kept practicing until I got it right. After a year, Mr. Franklin said I didn’t need his help anymore. Near the end of the school year, I decided to be in a spelling bee at school.
5. I was really nervous, but my parents were in the front row smiling at me. One by one, students were eliminated until it was just me and Casey Simmons. She was one of the girls who made fun of me. The last word was hippopotamus. Casey stood up and slowly said, "h-i-p-o-p-o-t-m-u-s."
6. "I’m sorry, Casey, but that is incorrect. Anna, it’s your turn," Mrs. Wetzel said.
7. I stood up, walked to the podium, took a deep breath, and said, "h-i-p-p-o-p-o-t-a-m-u-s."
8. "That is correct. Congratulations, Anna. You are the winner of this year’s spelling bee."
9. All of a sudden, the people in the audience started clapping and cheering. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, a young girl from Russia, winning a spelling bee in America. My parents were so proud of me. But I was even more proud of myself. I did it! All that hard work had paid off. There was no stopping me now.