Lehnert competes in National Spelling Bee today

UPDATES: 4:32 p.m., local time:(via @ScrippsBee) Round 3 and the Preliminaries of the 2013 National Spelling Bee concluded at 4:01 p.m. 239 spellers remained, but 41 semifinalists were announced. [Kara Lehnert did not make the cut.] Qualifying semifinalists had to correctly spell twice on stage, PLUS score highest on Tuesday's computer exams.3:36 p.m., local time: RT @ScrippsBee: #Speller247 Kara Lehnert (TX) spells 'temblor' (an earthquake) correctly in Round 3 #spellingbee10:40 a.m., local time:(via @ScrippsBee) 266 spellers [which includes Sweetwater's Kara Lehnert] will advance to Round 3 which will begin at 12:15 p.m. local time. Coverage can be seen on ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app. Spellers' parents will receive results of Round 1 exams via e-mail this afternoon. Semifinalists will be announced after Round 3.10:16 a.m., local time: RT @ScrippsBee: #Speller247 Kara Lehnert (TX) spells 'novillero' (an inexperienced bullfighter) correctly to advance #spellingbee (The official Twitter account of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.)ORIGINAL STORY:Of over 11 million fourth through eighth-grade students who participated in the 2013 National Spelling Bee, Sweetwater’s Kara Lehnert is one of only 281 finalists competing in the championship rounds in Washington D.C. Lehnert is a sixth grader at Sweetwater Middle School. 79% of participants this year are seventh or eighth graders, and only 63% attend public schools, which indicates the uniqueness of Lehnert's accomplishment.Lehnert earned the right to compete in the National Spelling Bee by winning the local spelling bee held at Sweetwater Middle School and then the Permian Basin regional spelling bee in Odessa. She was assisted in her preparation and practice by her sister, Ellie Lehnert, and her parents, Dustin and Yvonne Lehnert.As might be expected, Lehnert is an excellent student. She also is a suberb athlete, having led her local softball team to a state youth championship and national tournament wins as a pitcher. She plays the trumpet, volunteers for Goodfellows and other local non-profits, and is active in the local youth group at the First Methodist church.Community support has helped Lehnert travel to the nation’s capital with family at her side. “The support of our friends in our community, including my co-workers at the courthouse, has really added to how special this experience is for our family,” said her mother Yvonne. Should she advance to the semi-finals on Wednesday or to the final-round on Thursday, Lehnert's family will be there to support her.Financial support for Lehnert's trip to Washington, D.C. was provided by the local Lion’s Club, the Sweetwater Rotary Club, the Hall Law Firm, T.A. Truck Stop, Jim Bean Photography, Jim and Scharles Kelley, Sgt. Bryan and Kelly Sheridan, Hon. David and Jana Hall, the Law Office of Peter Sheridan, the Sweetwater Intermediate School P.T.O., and a Nolan County courthouse fund organized by Kandy Myers. Lehnert's sixth grade friends at Sweetwater Middle School gave her a party and the SMS Cheerleaders and Cheer Squad held a pep-rally for Kara. Sweetwater ISD loaned Kara an iPad to use in her preparation as well.Last year’s winner spelled the word ‘guetapens’ correctly as her final word. This year’s winner will receive over $40,000 in scholarships and prizes. Texans have a history of success in the National Spelling Bee, having won 9 of the 86 competitions.Lehnert will appear as Speller #247 in the preliminary round on ESPN3 from 10:00 to 11:45 a.m. today, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Visit www.spellingbee.com to learn more.