Orange County champ spells victory on third trip to the bee
The spellers breezed through acculturation, accusatory, deceitful, geniture and transposable.
As the 56th annual Orange County Scripps National Spelling Bee advanced to the final few rounds on Saturday, March 2, at the Orange County Board of Education, Nicholas D’Sa, an eighth grader at St. Cecilia Catholic School in Tustin, and Dean Alkhairy, from Fairmont School in North Tustin, were the two left standing.
When Alkhairy misspelled gurnard, that left D’Sa, who was given rhesus.
Letter by letter, D’Sa uttered the correct spelling and was crowned the county’s spelling bee champion.
D’Sa and Alkhairy went back and forth for six rounds before D’Sa finally emerged as the winner. He moves on to the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.
D’Sa had finished in third place the past two years and credited his first place finish to studying two hours a day, every day, since last year.
“This year I took the studying pretty seriously compare to the other years,” D’Sa said. “It feels great.”
Alkhairy finished second and Prakruthi Praveen from Venado Middle School in Irvine finished third.
The spelling bee kicked off on Feb. 25, with 100 participants in grades six through eight from public and private schools throughout the county. They had all won their local level.
Competitors were permitted to spell the words out on paper on the first day of competition, but those who advanced to the final competition didn’t have the luxury of working the words out with a pencil.
Some breathed audible sighs or whispered “yes” to themselves, after giving a correct spelling. Others were stoic throughout. (Stoic was among the words spelled correctly in an early round).
Twenty-nine had advanced to Saturday’s competition, which started at 9 a.m. and didn’t end until 3 p.m.
“We obviously had a really bright group of kids this year,” said Kristin Rigby, the district’s coordinator of academic events. “Even after the break, we had quite a few kids that stayed in for several rounds. It wasn’t until we got into the really, really challenging words toward the end of the list, that it came down to a few students.”