At the National Spelling Bee it’s spelled Kavya Shivashankar!
Everyone groaned when there was a commercial break. The Scripps National Spelling Bee finals were broadcast live and the camera lights were really heating things up on stage. So were the words!
I reported almost word for word on Tweeter all evening long as spellers moved from one side of the stage to the next. When a speller missed a word, he or she would moved from stage right to stage left, joining family members.
Although the audience groaned at too many commercials, I put the time to good use.
I interviewed spellers during the breaks for my story. I had a deadline to make. I had to turn the story around as soon possible for Scholastic News Online’s top story on Friday. Plus I had a final tweet and this blog post. AND I had to send in pictures. Thank goodness for my mom who helps with the photos!
I first talked to Sonia Schlesinger, who won the D.C. competition, but didn’t make it into tonight’s finals. Sonia is a great speller. She easily beat me at the D.C. finals. Yes, I competed too!
The spellers use commercial breaks very differently than everyone else. They sign autographs. These guys are real celebrities!
For three rounds everyone got everything right. Then came the 11th round. If you had to guess, you usually got it wrong, and the words were getting harder. It was down to three when the championship round began.
In the championship round only 25 words are left. The spellers left standing at the end of those 25 words win, no matter how many that may be. It didn’t take long, though. It was soon down to Kavya Shivashankar, a 13-year-old from Olathe, Kansas. (Speller No. 110.) She got the final word right: laodicean: lukeworm or indefinite in religion.
Here are the words that took down two champions:
For Tim Ruiter, 12, it was maecenas: a generous benefactor, especially a patron of the arts.
For Aishwarya Pastapur, 13, it was menhir: a tall upright megalith; found primarily in England and northern France.
I liked watching some of the quirks of the spellers as they got lost in concentration on stage. It was like the audience didn’t even exist. They are on live prime time major network TV and all they think about are their words. That’s a champion.
The winner, Kavya, always spelled the word in her palm with her finger. Aishwarya closed her eyes when spelling. Tim would ask, “What’s it mean?” when everyone else always said, “May I have the definition please?”
I know the NBA finals were playing on another channel, but I think the real competition was right here in Washington D.C. at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.