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Broward student makes top 10 in National Spelling Bee

WASHINGTON — Christal Schermeister of Pembroke Pines proved on Thursday night that she’s one of the top 10 spellers in the nation.

After advancing to the finals in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Christal was eliminated when she incorrectly spelled the word “doryline,” which is a subfamily of ants.

She walked off the stage and sat down with her family to watch the rest of the competition. She said she feels exhausted, but proud of herself for making it so far.

The home-schooled eighth-grader, who placed 22nd in last year’s competition, was thrilled about placing as a finalist this year.

“I’m very happy and glad I will be able to represent my home school group and my regional bee,” said Christal, who was the Broward County champion in The Miami Herald Spelling Bee for the second year.

As for her parents, they are proud and grateful.

“We are glad to be here,” Christal’s father, Mark Schermeister said. “In our house, the Scripps Spelling Bee is like watching the Super Bowl, and now we’re in it.”

Facing the semifinal rounds on Thursday afternoon, Christal said, “I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure about the difficulty of the words.”

But her tension eased up after listening to some of the other words.

“I’ve done well enough,” Schermeister said.

Her motto since before this year’s Spelling Bee has been to take one word and one letter at a time. She did just that.

“She has stayed right on track,” her father said.

Another Floridian, Grace Remmer of St. Augustine, also made it to the finals.

Two hundred eighty-one spellers were part of this year’s national competition in National Harbor, Md.. Just 11 spellers advanced to the finals this year after the introduction of rigorous vocabulary tests.