Escondido eighth grader eliminated from spelling bee

ESCONDIDO (CNS) – Giabao Tonthat, an eighth-grader at Heritage K-8
Charter School in Escondido, correctly spelled two words but was
eliminated from the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md.

The contestants on Tuesday took computer-based spelling and vocabulary
tests, which are considered the first round of the bee. They took to the stage
at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center today for the second and
third rounds, during which Giabao correctly spelled “Qatari” and
“flabbergast,” meaning to overwhelm with shock.

But Giabao's performance on the computerized tests were not enough to
propel him to Thursday's semifinals.

This year's competition marked the first time the bee, which began with
281 contestants, incorporated vocabulary questions.

“It represents a deepening of the bee's commitment to its purpose — to
help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn
concepts and develop English usage that will help them all their lives,”
according to Paige Kimble, the bee's executive director and its 1981 champion.

Giabao is 13, loves playing with his Australian shepherds May and Com,
enjoys football, reading and soccer. His favorite movie is “Toy Story 3” and
he likes the music of pianist and YouTube sensation Kyle Landry.

The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below, with
contestants ranging in age from 8 to 14 years old.

The original field included students who won locally sponsored bees in
all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with American Samoa, Guam,
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense schools in

Seven foreign nations were also represented — the Bahamas, Canada,
China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

The winner of the bee will receive $30,000 from Scripps, which owns
television stations and newspapers; a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and complete
reference library from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster; and $2,000 in
reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The semifinal and championship rounds will be held Thursday, with a
contestant eliminated after he or she misspells a word.

ESPN2 will carry the semifinals from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday. The
championship finals will be on ESPN from 5-7 p.m. Thursday.

Throughout the entire competition, will carry a second “play
along” version, where viewers will have the option to view coverage without
seeing the word until the last second so they can test their spelling skills
against the champion spellers.

This is ESPN's 20th year of covering the bee.
San Diego produced last year's champion, Snigdha Nandipati.

Categories: KUSI