NATIONAL HARBOR,Md. – O’Neal Davis,11,was among three spellers who got a second chance Wednesday during the Scripps National Spelling Bee,but the Corpus Christi speller didn’t advance to the semifinals.
Just before Round 3,Paige Kimble,director of the bee,announced that all spellers were notified of a specific study list of words. But O’Neal and two other spellers were given words in Round 2 that did not appear on that list.
They got to try another word.
O’Neal began spelling his word,“syntactician,” without asking any questions just as he had done the word before. A syntactician is a grammarian who specializes in syntax.
O’Neal replaced the “Y” with an “I.”
O’Neal,who attends Kostoryz Elementary School,hopes to return next year with a better idea of what to expect.
O’Neal said he only missed a few questions on the written exam but he missed both his words in the two oral preliminary rounds.
His parents also are hopeful about his prospects for next year.
Maria Acevedo,O’Neal’s mother,said she and her husband would continue to help O’Neal prepare.
“We’ll watch ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ and see what she did,” Acevedo joked.
Patrick,O’Neal’s father,said,“We can encourage him,but he has to push himself.”
O’Neal said he would come back and even made a prediction about who would win.
“The guy sitting next to me,” he said.
Chetan Reddy,11,from Dallas,did pretty well,O’Neal said. Chetan is one of 41 spellers who scored at least 29 points of a maximum of 31 on the written and oral rounds to advance to the semifinals Thursday morning. The bee started with 275 spellers.
Chetan survived through Round 4 Thursday,but misspelled “seudah,” a Jewish feast or banquet,as “sudah” in Round 5 and was eliminated.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee,sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Co.,is at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside of Washington,D.C.,in Prince George’s County,Md.
All spellers will receive gift cards or cash prizes,a $100 U.S. savings bond and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary on CD-ROM.
The champion will receive a $30,000 cash prize from Scripps,a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from Merriam-Webster,a $5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation,$2,600 in reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica and an online course and Nook from K12 Inc.
Reach reporter Anya Sippen at [email protected] or 202-326-9865
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