Thursday, May 28, 2009
The first word might have been easy for some junior high students to spell. The second one, not so much.
But on Wednesday, a Pearland seventh-grader made his school proud when he managed to spell both “diabetes” and “nenuphar” correctly, becoming one of 41 semifinalists at the 82nd Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in Washington, D.C.
Aditya Chemudupaty , who attends Nolan Ryan Junior High School in the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision of the Alvin school district, was among 293 youths competing. While diabetes may be a common word to some, few people probably know what nenuphar means — it’s a European water lily.
As a result of their feats Wednesday, the Pearland hero and the other semi-finalists from across the country will compete on stage from 9 a.m. to noon today, with the competition being broadcast live on ESPN. His classmates and teachers will be watching, said Principal Deborah Roberson.
It felt “really, really good to get this far,” Aditya said after the semifinalists were announced. But he acknowledged a case of nerves.
“I feel really, really anxious about tomorrow,” he said.
Aditya said he would be practicing all evening the night before the big day.
“I’ll be studying my spelling list with my mom,” he said.
Aditya was calm onstage during the two oral rounds Wednesday, however, speaking clearly and with barely any hesitation between letters. His goals for today: “Concentrate and don’t hurry. Take your time, and watch the clock.”
“Aditya is a very, very good student,” Roberson said Wednesday night. “This is something he’s been working on all year long. He’s just very self-disciplined.
“Part of his routine is he will get up early in the morning and study for an hour or two, then come to school. Then when he gets home from school, after he does his homework, for another hour or two he’ll go back over and practice his spelling.”
The championship finalists will square off for the final round beginning at 7 tonight. That competition will air live on ABC-TV. The champion will win a $30,000 cash prize, a $5,000 scholarship, a $2,500 U.S. Savings Bond and other prizes.
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