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New Zealand Speller Knocked Out By An “O”

New Zealand Speller Knocked Out By An “O”

New Zealand speller, 13 year-old Tom Winter, was knocked out of the semi- finals at the Scripps National Spelling Bee today when he misspelled the ending of the word, phytoplankter.

Phytoplankter, a noun, is a planktonic plant. Tom got all of the letters right until he got to the end where he said an o instead of an e.

Smiling when he heard the bell, Tom walked off the stage where he was met by his Mum, Penny Olds.

Tom, a student at Burnside High School, the same school where his mother is an English teacher, has had a dizzy three days of spelling. He made it to the semi-finals along with 47 other spellers (25 girls and 23 boys) ranging in age from 10 – 14 years.

Tom says he was disappointed to misspell the word by one vowel but it has been amazing to have the opportunity to be here in Washington at the Bee. Sat

Tom’s dad who stayed up in New Zealand to see the event screening live on Sky Sports at 2am was quick to text Tom saying that was so proud and now Tom could relax.

Penny says she and Tom are absolutely thrilled to have got this far in the event.

“The last few days have been one long amazing ride and we were both blown away by the experience.”

Janet Lucas, Organiser of the New Zealand Vegemite Spelling Bee says it is a fantastic achievement to reach this level of the competition and show that it is possible for young New Zealanders to come here and do so well.

Canada, Jamaica and Japan were also represented at the semi-finals. Laura Olivia Newcome, 11, Canada correctly spelled thalassian, a sea turtle. Owayne Rodney, 11, Jamaica, incorrectly spelled the word, desipience, enjoying foolish trifles. Sonia Ann Schlesinger, 13, Japan, correctly spelled the word, muniments, evidence that defends the title to an estate and privileges.

Eight of the 273 spellers will compete for the Champion Trophy and $US40,000 cash and prizes.

There was an upset in the semi-final when 14 year-old Neetu Chandak, who is competing in her fourth consecutive Scripps Spelling Bee and placed eighth at last year’s spelling bee was eliminated in the semi-final. Neetu misspelled provane, a device used on the bow of a ship to cut the moorings of mines. Her mother protested s she believed there was some confusion regarding the meaning of the root, para. Neetu was reinstated


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