Tell us about your recent spelling bee win?
It was really exciting to finally win. I finished in second place the last two years to my brother (Will Ryan-Johnson), and I was proud to follow in his footsteps.
What is the word that you spelt out that gave you the win?
It was genetic, which wasn’t too bad. I smiled when I heard the word because it was a medical term I knew well and my mom is a doctor.
What is the hardest word that you have ever had to spell?
From the school list, accouterment looked hard at first, but it was easy after a couple of practices. For some reason I used to misspell rappelled. To remind myself about the double consonants; I made up a little rap: “R , A — Double P — E, Double L, E ,D — word”. Words will be tougher at regionals for sure.
Tell us about your theater involvements?
My favorite thing to do is perform on stage. It is really fun to have an audience. Our first grade teacher, Tina Khalil, is an actress. She encouraged me. First I did several musical theater camps. Then I started auditioning. So far I have been cast at the Fountain Hills Theater in Annie, at Greasepaint Youth Theater in Dear Edwina, and at the Don Bluth Front Row Theater in Peter Pan. Theater helps my confidence to be up in front when everyone is watching. I think it probably helps me to be less nervous at the spelling bee up at the microphone.
What do you aspire to be when you grow up?
Wow, that is a tough one. I enjoy lots of things. As I grow up, I hope I do a bit of everything. I like sports, animals, and I like science, too. Chemistry, marine biology, and Veterinary medicine are my favorites. Maybe one day I could combine things and find a way to host some educational shows for kids. Basically, I say, “I want to be a marine biologist, chemist, Veterinarian, on Broadway, and hosting my own show”.
What is one thing that you love about attending Camelback Desert School?
One awesome thing about my school is that everyone knows each other. It is super friendly and we all like to support each other. Big kids help little kids, and we have reading buddies we help in younger classes. Some of my teachers and classmates have come to my shows and it makes me feel so good inside.
Tell our readers about one of your favorite teachers?
Wow, that is a tough one, too. They are all my favorites. My family has been at the school a long time. I was really close to my Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Bernstein. I had her for two years because she moved classes after teaching pre-K. She let me do extra research projects, and I got to present my papers with project boards in front of the class. My favorite was about ocean life. She made a really great video full of photos at Kindergarten graduation that shared a lot of memories. I didn’t want to leave her. She is so nice. She would be a really great big sister.