An eighth-grader from the South Side will compete for the Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer after dominating Chicago Public Schools’ citywide tournament.

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CBS 2’s Tim McNichoals sat down with one of the best young spellers in the city.

“These are all the medals I got from my school,” Danielle Addo, 13, said as she displayed her honors.

Indeed Danielle has earned a lot of hardware. But she won her biggest trophy last month, when she won the citywide spelling bee after 15 rounds of tough competition.

“Once I won, it was like time stopped,” Danielle said. “I can’t really describe it right now. It was so amazing.”

She made her teachers and classmates from Amelia Earhart Elementary School proud as she nailed the word zocalo to win it all.

Even prouder was her mother, Julianna Addo, who moved to the U.S. from Ghana in the 90s with dreams of a brighter future.

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“I am so happy to come to here as immigrant and now like it takes us to this far – I am so happy,” Julianna Addo said.

Now, Danielle has got her eyes on an even bigger prize – the famed Scripps National Spelling Bee.

After her success in Chicago, she will now compete for the Scripps title starting with preliminaries in June.

McNicholas: “To have this happen in a pandemic – I know a lot of kids have a lot of things taken from this past year, whether it’s sports or other extracurricular activities. Does that kind of make it that much more important to you?”

Danielle: “It really means a lot to my family, my classmates, my teachers; that even though the world is struggling right now, there’s still a little light that can shine on us.”

The first rounds of the national competition will be virtual, with 10 to 12 students moving onto the finals in Orlando in July.

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Danielle is hoping to earn her family a trip to Florida.

Tim McNicholas