11-year-old Muskan Jiwa of Edmonton wins national spelling bee championship

·1 min read

Muskan Jiwa might be too young to drink espresso, but knowing how to spell the word helped her win a national spelling bee.

Jiwa, a Grade 7 student at Edmonton's Dr. Donald Massey School, won the junior category of the Spelling Bee of Canada championships on Nov. 29. Junior spellers are aged nine to 11.

After placing third in last year's competition, Jiwa made winning her goal.

An avid reader, she spent hours preparing for the competition by looking up new words in a dictionary and studying lists of words with her mother.

"I'm really happy that my hard work paid off," she said Monday in an interview with CBC Edmonton's Radio Active.


Jiwa said the most difficult word she encountered during the virtual competition was "umu," which is a Maori open-air oven.

Though she ended up spelling it correctly, the word threw her at first because many previous rounds had featured words with European roots.

Jiwa was also asked to spell the word "Hansard" — the official record of parliamentary debates in Commonwealth countries — and set herself apart by correctly capitalizing its first letter.

"I love debate," she said, explaining why she immediately recognized it as a proper noun.

Mark Raspopov and Leena Jalees of Ontario won the competition's primary and intermediate categories.

A 90-minute recap of the spelling bee will be available to watch on CBCSports.ca and on the CBC Sports YouTube Channel starting at 11 a.m. MT on Dec. 6.