OC Student Advances to Finals of National Spelling Bee

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An eighth-grader from Orange County advanced today to the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but four other local students were eliminated from the competition.

Nicholas D'Sa, an eighth-grader at St. Cecilia Catholic School in Tustin, correctly spelled nepotism, a noun meaning favoritism, as in appointment to a job, based on kinship, in the second round and macronutrient, a chemical element or substance, such as potassium or protein, that is essential in relatively large amounts to the growth and health of a living organism, in the third round.

Combined with his score on an earlier written spelling and vocabulary test earned him a spot in the finals with 49 other competitors.

Nicholas, 13, is a first-degree black belt in tae kwon do, and he has played the piano since second grade.

Four other Southland students correctly spelled words in the second and third rounds, but their written test score left them short of a spot in the finals, which begin Thursday.

Eliminated from the competition were:

-- Ayle Guevarra, a seventh-grader at Ernest Lawrence Middle School in Chatsworth, who correctly spelled cruse, a small vessel, such as a jar or pot, for holding a liquid, in the second round and lucigen, a lamp or torch giving a bright light by burning a spray of oil mixed with hot air, in the third;

-- Dina Miranda, an eighth-grader at Stanford Middle School in Long Beach, who correctly spelled intermittent, an adjective meaning coming and going at intervals, in the second round and proponent, one who argues in favor of something, in the second;

-- Joshua Villanova, a seventh-grader at Traweek Middle School in West Covina, who correctly spelled objurgation, a harsh rebuke, in the second round and genesis, a noun meaning the origin or coming into being of something, in the third; and

-- Dean Alkhairy, a seventh-grader at Fairmont Private Schools' North Tustin Campus, who correctly spelled mezzanine, a low-ceilinged story between two main stories of a building, in the second round and bicuspid, an adjective meaning having or ending in two points in the third, and;

The 562 spellers who began the competition took a multiple-choice test with 12 spelling words and 14 vocabulary questions on Monday, part of the qualifying process to advance to the finals. The test is considered the bee's first round.

Contestants spelling their third-round words correctly can advance to the finals, which are limited to a maximum of 50 spellers. Spellers' scores are plotted on a chart beginning at 36. Spellers at each consecutive scoring level are added until 50 spellers have been attained.

Spellers received one point for each of the 12 items correctly identified in the spelling portion of the test, one point for each of the 12 items correctly identified in the initial vocabulary section, three points for a correct answer to the lone item in the second vocabulary section, and three points for a correct answer to the lone item in the third vocabulary section.

Two Los Angeles County spellers correctly spelled their second-round word, but incorrectly spelled their third-round word and were eliminated from the competition.

Chloe Na, a sixth-grader at Tesoro del Valle Elementary School in Valencia, correctly spelled liquesce, a verb meaning to liquefy, in the second round, but misspelled duologue, a dialogue between two persons, in the third, omitting the final two letters.

Joseph Vicente, a fifth-grader at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Beverly Hills, correctly spelled novercal, an adjective relating to, or characteristic of a stepmother, in the second round, but misspelled deceit, the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid, in the third, adding an I between the C and the E.

The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below, with contestants ranging in age from 7 to 15.

The original field consisted of spellers from 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 Europe.

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

The bee is intended ``to inspire children to improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives,'' according to Paige Kimble, the bee's executive director and 1981 champion.

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