CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local girl’s competition in the National Spelling Bee continued her familiarity with the annual competition: She has represented the Coastal Bend before.
Maya Mollick was eliminated in the third round of the virtual competition on Saturday.
It was the second time she advanced to the national round of the spelling bee in three years. She competed in 2019, but the annual competition was shelved because of the pandemic in 2020.
“It was a great honor to know I was representing all of Corpus Christi, and the region, as well,” Maya said. “I wanted to show the world what my region was made of. I wanted to represent us in a way in that people could be proud.”
After correctly spelling fleche and grandeur, Maya misspelled censurable in the third round.
“I’m not the happiest; I could have done better,” said Maya, who recently completed the eighth grade at Adkins Middle School. “I was just one letter away. But it was still an honor to represent our area. It was an experience I was proud of.”
It continued a trend of mastery in her family in local spelling bees. Her younger sister, Emma, who completed the fifth grade at Early Childhood Development of Corpus Christi, finished in a tie for the 2021 local championship with Maya.
Maya advanced to the national round of the competition after a tiebreaker with her sister.
“All of my family got involved in it,” Maya said. “I had a quota of 500 words a day. I learned with my dad to help me focus on trouble spots. My mom was asking me a lot of the words verbally.”
Her sister wants to continue the family’s recent success during next year’s competition.
“We’ll keep going on,” said their mother Judy Mollick. “She (Emma) will be going into the sixth grade. She also wants to do this.”
After finishing the National Spelling Bee, Maya still plans a busy summer. She hopes to continue her favorite activities, including playing the piano and violin, singing, writing, drawing and surfing the Internet. She will attend the ninth grade at Collegiate High School at Del Mar College when school begins again.
“I'm happy that summer is here, but (I'm) planning on competing in some writing competitions,” she said. “In general, my standard is that -- I want to be above average and learn as much as possible. That drive to learn for me won’t ever shut down on me, even after the competition with the spelling bee is over with.”
Maya hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps, working as a university business professor.
“I’m happy about that,” said her father Joseph Mollick, a statistics and business professor at Texas A&M-University Corpus Christi. “Being a university professor is something I respect and I’m pretty sure she’s very capable of this. She’s very gifted and hard-working, and if she wants to work with this it would be great. But if she changes, that’s OK, too.”
Her mother is thrilled with Maya’s strong success in the spelling bee and all of the work she has dedicated to it over the years.
“I’m very proud of her,” Judy Mollick said. “She works hard and has done well in the competition.”