July 15, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Middle Schoolers To Compete In The 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee

Cooper Komatsu, who attends Culver City Middle School, and Sarika Rau, who attends Sierra Vista Middle School in Irvine, are among the 285 spellers who will take a 26-question computer-based spelling and vocabulary test.
Cooper Komatsu, who attends Culver City Middle School, and Sarika Rau, who attends Sierra Vista Middle School in Irvine, are among the 285 spellers who will take a 26-question computer-based spelling and vocabulary test.

Seventh graders attending middle schools in Culver City and Irvine will begin competing in the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee today in National Harbor, Maryland.

Cooper Komatsu, who attends Culver City Middle School, and Sarika Rau, who attends Sierra Vista Middle School in Irvine, are among the 285 spellers who will take a 26-question computer-based spelling and vocabulary test.

The test at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is considered the first round of the bee.

The spellers will take to the convention center’s stage Wednesday to spell two words. Contestants spelling both words correctly have the chance to be among the maximum of 50 spellers advancing to Thursday’s semifinals.

Cooper qualified for the national bee by winning the Los Angeles County Scripps Regional Spelling Bee on Feb. 8. His final word was carillon, a musical instrument found in churches and universities, comprised of at least 23 bells, arranged chromatically and tuned harmonically so they can be played together from a keyboard.

Cooper is 12 years old and has participated in Math Olympiad and state-level National Geographic Bee competitions. He is fluent in Japanese. His maternal grandfather, Robert Rosenberg, competed in the 1955 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Sarika is 13 and said she is fascinated with science, particularly genetic engineering and hopes to study medicine. She also competes in Science Olympiad and plays the violin.

Sarika qualified for the national bee by winning the Orange County Spelling Bee in February. Her final word was foreordained, meaning to appoint beforehand.

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.

The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below, with contestants ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old.

The field consists of 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 Europe.

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

The second and third rounds will be shown by the broadband network ESPN3 from 5-8:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.-2:45 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) Wednesday. The semifinalists will be announced at the conclusion of the third round.

The semifinals will be shown on ESPN2 from 7-10 a.m. Thursday and the finals from 5-7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.

All of the coverage can also be seen on the WatchESPN app.

Throughout the competition, ESPN3 and WatchESPN will have a multiple-choice “Play-Along” version, where viewers will have a one-in-three  chance to pick the correct spelling.

Informational boxes highlighting the word’s etymology, definition, pronunciation and part of speech, along with live tweets and the speller’s biography have been added to the “Play-Along” version.

The winner will receive $30,000 from Scripps, which owns television stations, cable networks and newspapers; $5,000 from the makers of the multi-player word game Words With Friends; a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and complete reference library from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster; and $1,100 in reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium.

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