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Tustin, Corona students eliminated in late rounds at the National Spelling Bee

Students Compete In Annual National Scripps Spelling Bee
Students from across the country and around the world compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md.
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

An eighth-grader from Corona was eliminated in the 10th round of the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday evening, tying for 15th in her fourth and final bee.

Aisha Randhawa misspelled “cuirassier,” a mounted soldier wearing a cuirass, a piece of armor covering the body from neck to waist, ending the word in “eer” instead of “ier.”

Aisha was among 16 spellers who advanced to the closing portion of the bee, correctly spelling five words in the opening portion earlier Thursday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

Aisha correctly spelled her first word in the closing portion, “jabiru,” a large tropical American stork with a massive black bill. All 16 spellers correctly spelled their ninth-round words. She was among two spellers misspelling their 10th-round words.

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Nicholas D’Sa, an eighth-grader from Tustin, was eliminated in the 12th round.

The finals began Thursday with 50 spellers. The field was reduced to 40 after the fourth round, 34 after the fifth, 29 after the sixth, 25 after the seventh and 16 after the eighth.

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

Aisha and her 561 fellow competitors took a multiple-choice test with 12 spelling words and 14 vocabulary questions on Monday. The test is considered the bee’s first round.

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The finalists were 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.

Aisha was among seven spellers in the national bee making their fourth or fifth appearances. She tied for seventh in last year’s bee, eliminated in the 11th round when she misspelled “perduellion,” a noun meaning treason, omitting the second L. She tied for 22nd place in the 2016 bee and tied for 35th in the 2017 bee.

This was Aisha’s final bee because it is limited to students in eighth grade or below. Contestants for the 92nd edition of the national bee ranged in age from 7 to 15.

The 13-year-old qualified for the national bee by winning the Riverside County Spelling Bee for a record fourth consecutive time.

Aisha said she thoroughly enjoys “learning of all kinds” and loves performing in the Auburndale Intermediate School jazz band, for which she plays the piano and alto saxophone. She said she has fun with her siblings and friends playing board games and exploring the outdoors.

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.

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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,” said Paige Kimble, the bee’s executive director and 1981 champion.

A speller from Riverside County has never won the bee.


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