Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Evansville Students Excel at Spelling ; but Don't Go to Semifinals

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Evansville Students Excel at Spelling ; but Don't Go to Semifinals

Article excerpt

Vanessa Jodlowski, 13, admitted she was nervous Wednesday standing on the large stage at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, for the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee with everyone in the crowded room staring at her. "It's really nerve wracking to have all the lights in your face," Jodlowski said.

But that didn't stop the Evansville representative from correctly spelling her words - tahini and trepanation - in Rounds 2 and 3, respectively, of the competition. Tahini is a smooth paste made of ground sesame seeds, which according to Dictionary.com is often used in hummus. And trepanation is an act of perforating a skull with a surgical instrument.

And the River City's other competitor in the 87th annual bee, speller No. 280 Akshaj Mishra, also spelled his two words correctly - pickelhaube and wassail. Pickelhaube is a spiked helmet; and wassail is a beverage historically consumed in England on festive occasions and made of ale or wine flavored with spices and other ingredients.

However, despite the two middle schooler's exemplary efforts, neither advanced to Thursday's semifinals.

Jodlowski, speller No. 75, said she was "pretty upset" not to make it through, but she is pleased with how she performed.

"I'm happy with the place that I got because I know that I got pretty far, at least," she said.

Of the 281 total competitors, narrowed from a pool of more than 11 million students that competed in locally-sponsored bees, 257 pupils spelled their words correctly in Round 2 and 223 spellers made it through Round 3.

However, bee rules require than no more than 50 competitors can be named semifinalists. This decision is based on correct spelling on stage during Wednesday's oral spelling rounds and best scores on Tuesday's computer-based preliminary test which consisted of 12 scored spelling words and 12 scored vocabulary questions. …

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