Tustin Student Ties for 12th in National Spelling Bee

Students Compete In Annual National Scripps Spelling Bee

TUSTIN (CNS) - An eighth-grader from Tustin was eliminated in the 12th round of the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee tonight, tying for 12th in an original field of 562 in his first appearance in the national bee.

Nicholas D'Sa was among 16 spellers advancing to the bee's closing portion. He spelled his first four words in the closing portion correctly -- huiscoyol, a shrubby Central American palm that forms impenetrable thickets, alloeostropha, a plural noun meaning irregular strophes or stanzas, oeconomus, a steward or manager of the temporalities of a diocese, college, or religious society, and lobbygow, an errand boy.

Nicholas was eliminated when he misspelled jalap, the dried tuberous root of a Mexican plant of the morning-glory family, spelling it jallop.

This was Nicholas' only national bee because it is limited to students in eighth grade or below.

All 16 spellers correctly spelled their ninth-round words. The field was reduced to 14 at the end of the 10th round and 13 at the end of the 11th.

Aisha Randhawa, an eighth-grader from Corona in Riverside County, was eliminated in the 10th round.

In the opening portion earlier Thursday, Nicholas correctly spelled basileus, a ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire, in the fourth round; chorea, a movement disorder marked by involuntary spasmodic movements especially of the limbs and facial muscles in the fifth; atala, a brightly colored butterfly native to southeastern Florida and the West Indies, in the sixth; capillaire, a syrup prepared from a delicate maidenhair fern, in the seventh; and huiscoyol, a shrubby Central American palm, in the eighth.

The finals began Thursday with 50 spellers at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. The field was reduced to 40 following the fourth round, 34 following the fifth, 29 following the sixth, 25 following the seventh and 16th following the eighth.

Students Compete In Annual National Scripps Spelling Bee

To reach the finals, spellers had to correctly spell two words on stage and score high enough on a spelling and vocabulary test.

Nicholas 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, both on Tuesday.

The spellers took a multiple-choice test with 12 spelling words and 14 vocabulary questions on Monday. The test is considered the bee's first round.

The finalists are determined by the test scores of the spellers who correctly spelled their third-round words. The finals 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 no more than 50 spellers are 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.

The lowest score to advance to the finals was 30.

Nicholas earned a spot in the national bee by winning the Orange County Spelling Bee. An Orange County speller has never won the national bee.

Following his victory March 2, the 13-year-old said he planned “to study a couple hours every day for nationals so that I can make the most of the opportunity to represent Orange County.”

Nicholas attends St. Cecilia Catholic School, is a first-degree black belt in tae kwon do and has played the piano since second grade. His favorite athlete is tennis star Roger Federer.

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.

Following completion of the 17th round, Jacques Bailly, the bee's official pronouncer and 1980 champion, announced that the bee would run for three more rounds and all spellers remaining at the conclusion of the 20th round would be declared champions.

All eight remaining spellers correctly spelled each of their final three words.

The E.W. Scripps Co., the bee's sponsor and owner of 52 television stations, announced each champion would receive the record $50,000 prize.

Each of the final 47 words was spelled correctly.

Photo: Getty Images

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