Local spelling whiz receives warm welcome home after competing in spelling bee

Simone Kaplan placed ninth in Scripps National Spelling Bee

DAVIE, Fla. – Spelling whiz kid Simone Kaplan received a warm welcome Monday outside St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Davie after competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

"I could've never imagined that all of them would be coming out to congratulate me. It just warmed my heart," she said. 

The 13-year old is back home and back in school after her third time competing in the spelling bee. 

"I'm so grateful for my parents for supporting me and keeping me on track," Kaplan said, adding that she was also grateful for all of her teachers and fellow students who cheered her on back home.

The spelling bee ended in an unprecedented eight-way tie for first place. Kaplan placed in ninth. 

"I was very focused on spelling the back part of the word. The word was 'tettigoniid,'" Kaplan said. "You can't go back in time. You can't fix it. You can only look to the future."

Aside from her impressive spelling skills, Kaplan also stood out for her bee-themed styles on stage. 

"I definitely liked wearing the cherry espadrilles with red pants and white bee blouse," Kaplan said. 

Kaplan had some parting words Monday for all the girls out there watching.

"It's OK for girls to be smart," she said. "It's not all about trying to impress boys or fit in with girls on Instagram, posting Starbucks. It's OK to be smart. It's OK to want to learn new things."

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