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Dissonant Wins 13 Yr Old Trip To Washington DC

Dissonant Wins 13 Yr Old Trip To Washington DC

A 13 year-old has won the New Zealand Vegemite Spelling Bee and a ticket to Washington DC to represent New Zealand in the Olympics of Spelling, the 83rd Scripps National Spelling Bee in June.

Tom Winter, from Burnside High School in Christchurch, survived a harrowing 90 minutes that saw 11 of his fellow contestants eliminated. Tom was pronounced the winner after spelling dissonant correctly.

“It took 17 grueling rounds to find our winner,” said the event’s manager, Janet Lucas. “The tension was high but our spellers had nerves of steel and hung in word after word.”

The runner up was Celine Kao from Sacred Heart College, Hamilton. Celine tripped over the word, “circuitous”. Liam Dennis from Hutt International Boys, Wellington came third after misspelling the word “recidivist.”

Twelve finalists from around the country – six girls and six boys traveled to Wellington to compete on Saturday afternoon in the national final after winning a place in one of five regional competitions.

Winner Tom said “I wasn’t sure how well I’d do. I was really nervous, but now I’m really happy with my win and it’s a relief it’s over. Tom says he’s thrilled about the prospect of representing New Zealand at the US Final. “It’s pretty nerve wracking but exciting at the same time.”

Tom will spend the next two months studying the Scripps National Spelling Bee word list and reading Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, a five kg monster with 470,000 words. Tom will also try to master the differences in American - English spelling.

The winner of the 2010 final is this country’s sixth representative at the US Spelling Bee, the world’s longest running academic competition and held more times than the Academy Awards. In America it attracts more than nine million competitors hopeful of winning a place in the championship final.


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