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Eighth Grader Wins National Spelling Bee
AP via Yahoo! ^ | Thursday, May 29, 2003 | By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press Writer

Posted on 05/29/2003 4:14:01 PM PDT by Momaw Nadon

WASHINGTON - A 13-year-old eighth-grader from Dallas nailed "pococurante" to win the 76th Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

It was Sai Gunturi's fourth time in the competition.

"I studied it," a beaming Sai said of the word after winning the contest, $12,000 and other prizes. "That's why I was kind of laughing." The word means indifferent or nonchalant.

Sai plays the violin and studies Indian classical music. His father, Sarma, is a chemical engineer and his mother, Lakshmi, is a homemaker.

Last year, Sai tied for seventh place. He tied for 16th place in 2001 and tied for 32nd place in 2000. His sister, Nivedita, tied for eighth place in 1997.

"Actually, I started studying in fourth grade and then I guess it's kind of like cumulative study all the way up to here," he said after surviving the grueling, 15-round contest by spelling such words as "rhathymia," "dipnoous" and "voussoir."

Evelyn Blacklock, a 14-year-old eighth-grader who is home-schooled in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., was the runner-up.

Earlier Thursday, Evelyn not only had to spell one of her words, but got to fully experience its meaning.

She stepped to the microphone at the sound of "tenebrosity," which means darkness, and began to question the announcer about its meaning and origins.

An unspoken answer came when the stage mysteriously went dark.

Unfazed, Evelyn lifted the numbered yellow square hanging from her neck and scribbled on the back of it with her finger before spelling, slowly and correctly, as the hotel ballroom's lights crept back on.

She later agonized over "anaphylaxis," a hypersensitivity caused by contact with a sensitizing agent, and "ganache," a sweet chocolate mixture used in baking, to advance another round.

The cable sports network ESPN provided live coverage.

In taped remarks, Education Secretary Rod Paige congratulated the 84 competitors who were still standing when the competition resumed Thursday, telling them they should be proud of making it to the finals.

"No matter whether you go out in the first round or become the next champ, your presence here spells only one thing," Paige said, then added: "S-u-c-c-e-s-s, success."

Jane Warunek, a 12-year-old eighth-grader in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., got a second chance after appealing her exit in the third round because she gave an alternate spelling of "diaconate." She later succumbed by misspelling "cernuous," which means drooping.

Some students moved closer to the final round by conquering such mouthfuls as "fissiparous," "platyhelminth" and "matripotestal."

Others drew the clang of the judge's bell after getting a word wrong. Among the stumpers were "preterlabent," "filipendulous" and "escheator."

There were plenty sighs of relief, high-fives and clenched fists jabbed into the air by the students who spelled correctly, and frowns and shrugs by those who were escorted off stage after their errors.

The event opened Wednesday with a field of 251 youngsters, ranging in age from 8 to 15. Each got one word to spell; 175 got them right.

Next came a written spelling test, introduced last year as a way to speed up the contest but ensure that every student gets at least once chance at the microphone. This year's bee is the largest ever, and spellers now tend to take more time before answering.

The exam narrowed the field to 84, who made the cut by missing 10 words or fewer.

Last year, it took 11 rounds to declare a winner, but that number has varied widely over the past decade. In 1997, victory came in the 23rd round.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Texas; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: homeschooling; private; public; rodpaige; saigunturi; spelling; spellingbee
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To: CyberCowboy777
If it is not a home taught student winning these things, it is a private taught student.

A couple of years ago, a local public school kid won it. His younger, also public-schooled, brother won the state bee this year, and I believe he competed at nationals.

Let's not let our enthusiasms get the best of us.... ;-)

81 posted on 04/12/2004 10:56:28 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: CyberCowboy777
Public schools do not teach to learn, they do not teach to think.

One must be careful not to overgeneralize, don't you think?

82 posted on 04/12/2004 10:58:15 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: babble-on
Hey, thanks for responding to my post after a pause of only 347 days. I've been waiting here without food or water for someone to ping me back on that.

You can blame the Insider Troll for that (see #s 62 & 63). It came here pretending to have participated in that spelling bee, and in so doing, bumped the thread back into Latest Posts.

It always resurrects old threads. We have no idea why.

83 posted on 04/12/2004 11:01:26 AM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: emmyloukay
I am wreatched at spelling

Yep.

84 posted on 04/12/2004 11:01:30 AM PDT by Old Professer
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To: Momaw Nadon
Evelyn Blacklock, a 14-year-old eighth-grader who is home-schooled in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., was the runner-up.

Hurray for home schoolers!
85 posted on 04/12/2004 11:03:09 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: lilylangtree
I'm sure the NEA is opposed to these spelling bee's because "not everyone can win" and that they lower the "self-esteem" of the non-winners.
86 posted on 04/12/2004 11:04:00 AM PDT by Guillermo (Your own personal Konservative Klick-Guerilla)
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To: r9etb
I wonder how invloved his parents are in his schooling.

I wonder if the parents blame the school or their teachers whenever they get in trouble.

I wonder if their parents reward them by allowing them to have purple mohawks when they behave properly...
87 posted on 04/12/2004 11:09:30 AM PDT by Guillermo (Your own personal Konservative Klick-Guerilla)
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To: Guillermo
I don't think they're happy that homeschoolers are permitted to participate because all homeschoolers do all day is sit home and prepare for the spelling bee while public school kids have to attend class.
88 posted on 04/12/2004 11:16:00 AM PDT by ladylib
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To: ladylib
Of course, and study for the SAT all day, because, homeschoolers score much higher on that test as well.
89 posted on 04/12/2004 11:18:49 AM PDT by Guillermo (Your own personal Konservative Klick-Guerilla)
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To: Flightdeck
LOL! What did she do, was it really embarrassing???
90 posted on 04/12/2004 11:24:33 AM PDT by Hildy (A kiss is the unborn child knocking at the door.)
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To: Guillermo
They score higher on the ACT too.
91 posted on 04/12/2004 11:27:40 AM PDT by ladylib
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To: r9etb
Children who can learn and think while in public school do so in spite of public school.

The system is designed to create cogs, in spite of that the human spirit endures, just as it has always done.
92 posted on 04/12/2004 11:36:09 AM PDT by CyberCowboy777 (We should never ever apologize for who we are, what we believe in, and what we stand for.)
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To: ladylib
Well of course! After all, they do nothing but study for specific tests...is it any wonder they do better?

I bet if there was a test on the UN, Earth Day, Tolerance and Multiculturalism, public school students would rout homeschoolers.
93 posted on 04/12/2004 11:37:49 AM PDT by Guillermo (Your own personal Konservative Klick-Guerilla)
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To: Thinkin' Gal; hellinahandcart; ~Kim4VRWC's~

In fact I was in that spelling bee as well, but it was a complete sham.  Having shown my spelling acumen with such words as apoplexy, eunuch, and George Stephanopolis, I was given the word “tit-mouse” in the 11th round.  I was unable to spell it in continuous tries due to my incurable case of the giggles. 

 That, coupled with the fact that I was taught all my spelling in my civics class.  It did impinge on the time that we’d normally spend learning about the founding fathers, the different amendments to The Constitution, the separation of powers, you know, the trivial little stuff that one picks up on just by watching the ABC World News Tonight.

Owl_Eagle

”Unleash the Hogs of Peace.”
P.J. O'Rourke Parliament of Whores

94 posted on 04/12/2004 11:41:51 AM PDT by South Hawthorne ("Kill my boss? Dare I live the American Dream?" ~ Homer Simpson)
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To: r9etb
Lets not let our apathy get the best of us.... ;-)

The system is broke, despite those that break free, the sooner we accept that the sooner we can rebuild.
95 posted on 04/12/2004 11:47:53 AM PDT by CyberCowboy777 (We should never ever apologize for who we are, what we believe in, and what we stand for.)
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To: Hildy
She kept covering her face and making weird motions and noises. It sounded like that movie where Jodie Foster invents her own language. When the semi-legible letters did come out, they were always sang at a different note to create some strange kind of song. I think her parents were performing psychological experiments on her for their research or something.
96 posted on 04/12/2004 12:08:42 PM PDT by Flightdeck (Death is only a horizon)
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To: Guillermo
I bet they would too, heh, heh, heh.

Lot of good it will do them in the long run.
97 posted on 04/12/2004 12:09:26 PM PDT by ladylib
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To: Wright is right!
I'm the same way. Excellent speller, but I never got past my school in the Spelling Bee.

I learn visually. That's just the way I've always been. I can't get directions by people telling me, they have to write it down, or I use a map. I didn't absorb teacher's lectures too well -- I usually had a friend that would take notes and I would read them, or just the material that the lecture was based on.
98 posted on 04/12/2004 12:45:25 PM PDT by stands2reason ( During the cola wars, France was occupied by Pepsi for six months.)
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To: Flightdeck
Oh my, it sounds HORRIBLE! (Wish I had seen it!).
99 posted on 04/12/2004 4:39:50 PM PDT by Hildy (A kiss is the unborn child knocking at the door.)
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