South­ern Mary­land stu­dents fall short of fi­nals

Na­tional Spelling Bee drew 284 top spellers from around na­tion, world

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

Com­pet­ing against some of the top spellers in the United States and abroad, the St. Mary’s and Calvert County Spelling Bee win­ners fell in round three of the 89th An­nual Scripps Na­tional Spelling Bee, while the Charles County win­ner ad­vanced through the first three rounds, only to fall short of the points needed to con­tinue on to Thurs­day’s fi­nals.

“I did my best, and I’m pretty sat­is­fied with it,” said Ni­cholas Gal­le­gos, 14, of Brandy­wine, af­ter the re­sults were an­nounced. Gal­le­gos, an eighth grade stu­dent from John Han­son Mid­dle School in Wal­dorf, won the Charles County Spelling Bee in Fe­bru­ary.

Two hun­dred eighty­four top spellers ages 15 and younger, from across the United States and 11 U.S. ter­ri­to­ries and other coun­tries, each cham­pi­ons of their lo­cal spelling bees, com­peted for the

Scripps Na­tional Spelling Bee cham­pi­onship ti­tle this week.

On Tues­day, each con­tes­tant took a mul­ti­ple choice spelling and vo­cab­u­lar y test di­vided into four sec­tions, worth up to 30 points.

On Wed­nes­day, all con­tes­tants com­peted in two rounds of spelling on stage. Each cor­rectly spelled word pro­vided the speller three points.

Those in­cor­rectly spelling a word were im­me­di­ately elim­i­nated from the com­pe­ti­tion. Fol­low­ing the morn­ing round, 251 con­tes­tants re­mained, in­clud­ing those from Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert coun­ties.

Words used in round two came from a 400-word list which was sent to stu­dents May 5, said Paige Kim­ble, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Scripps Na­tional Spelling Bee.

Last year, only four spellers mis­spelled in round two. This year, 33 con­tes­tants did not pass to the af­ter­noon round.

“This year, we upped the challenge in round two,” Kim­ble said.

The words given in the af­ter­noon’s Round Three came from Web­ster’s Third In­ter­na­tional Dic­tio­nary, which in­cludes 476,000 words, Kim­ble said.

“It’s com­ing di­rectly from the dic­tio­nary rather than the word lists they mem­o­rized,” Kim­ble said. “There’s more of a challenge to it even though the words may ap­pear eas­ier.”

Round three saw another 80 com­peti­tors elim­i­nated, which still left 171 com­peti­tors by the end of the af­ter­noon.

Points earned on the test and the two rounds of spelling were added to­gether to de­ter­mine a fi­nal score for the first three rounds and the top 45 scor­ers moved on to the fi­nal round Thurs­day, with the win­ner de­ter­mined af­ter press time Thurs­day night.

Gal­le­gos cor­rectly spelled “nephrolith” in round two and “frat­er­nize” in round three, but the eighth grader from John Han­son Mid­dle School in Wal­dorf didn’t score high enough on the writ­ten test to pro­ceed to the fi­nals.

Gal­le­gos said he was glad just to take part in the Na­tional Spelling Bee.

“Just be­ing here re­ally is the best. Not many peo­ple make it this far,” Gal­le­gos said.

“We’re just proud of him for get­ting this far,” added his mother Kim Gal­le­gos. “It’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Gal­le­gos was spon­sored by the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent.

Mark Beaulieu, 13, of Call­away cor­rectly spelled “re­mon­tant” in round two but fell in round three when he mis­spelled “def­er­ence.”

For Beaulieu, an eighth grader at Spring Ridge Mid­dle School in Lex­ing­ton Park, this was his sec­ond time com­pet­ing in the Na­tional Spelling Bee, and he said he was more re­laxed this time.

“Last year I was ner­vous, I started shak­ing. I was scared, well not scared, but re­ally ner­vous about be­ing on na­tional tele­vi­sion,” Beaulieu said. “Now I felt a lot less ner­vous. I mean, I was ner­vous about spelling the word, but not about my ap­pear­ance or be­ing on tele­vi­sion.”

Beaulieu said the ex­pe­ri­ence was very im­por­tant to him.

“I would not trade this ex­pe­ri­ence for any cash prize or any­thing. This ex­pe­ri­ence has been amaz­ing; meet­ing all th­ese re­ally nice spellers, to just hang and do what I love, which is spelling,” Beaulieu said.

Beaulieu said he plans to at­tend high school and col­lege as a dual en­rolled stu­dent, ma­jor­ing in computer sci­ence and cy­ber­se­cu­rity.

Beaulieu was spon­sored by The Enterprise news­pa­per in St. Mary’s County.

His mother Sandi Beaulieu wanted to thank the news­pa­per for spon­sor­ing them.

“We feel so lucky to live some­where where we have a spon­sor and have the op­por­tu­nity to go. It’s not a God-given right, and we are so grate­ful to have this,” Sandi Beaulieu said.

Anna Kleist, 12, of Prince Fred­er­ick cor­rectly spelled “hip­po­cratic” in round two but the sev­enth grader from Plum Point Mid­dle School in Hunt­ing­town mis­spelled “spon­tane­ity” in round three.

Kleist said the ex­pe­ri­ence has been a lot of fun and she’s made new friends from all over the coun­try.

“It’s been amaz­ing. It’s been so much fun, all the ac­tiv­i­ties are great, all the peo­ple are so nice, and I’m re­ally ex­cited to be here,” Kleist said. “This is go­ing to be some­thing I’m go­ing to re­mem­ber for the rest of my life.”

“We’re very proud of her ac­com­plish­ments,” added her fa­ther, Doug Kleist.

Kleist was spon­sored by The Calvert Recorder in Prince Fred­er­ick.

Kim­ble said that even though one com­peti­tor walks away with the win, all of the stu­dents participating gain from the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“They make friends here and they walk away with a broad net­work of friends that they re­tain in the years to come,” Kim­ble said.

Round two and round three were aired live on ESPN3. The fi­nals were aired live on ESPN2 and ESPN.

The first Na­tional Spelling Bee took place in 1925 with nine con­tes­tants. The E.W. Scripps Com­pany took own­er­ship of the bee in 1941. The bee has been held con­tin­u­ously since 1946, hav­ing been post­poned for three years prior due to World War II.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Ni­cholas Gal­le­gos, 14, of Brandy­wine, an eighth-grader at John Han­son Mid­dle School, Anna Kleist, 12, of Prince Fred­er­ick, a sev­enth-grader at Plum Point Mid­dle School, and Mark Beaulieu, 13, of Call­away, an eighth-grader at Spring Ridge Mid­dle School, each spell a word at the Scripps Na­tional Spelling Bee Wed­nes­day.

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