On Tuesday, students fought monstrous things like legendary reptiles, stinky southern African weasels and small rodents infamous for running off cliffs.
They fought to spell them, that is. ( Basilisk, muishond
The conqueror: Vaidya Govindarajan, who correctly spelled dirigible
to win the middle school category of the Miami Herald’s spelling bee Tuesday.
It’s the second time Vaidya is Miami-Dade County’s top speller. In sixth grade, he won and went on to tie for ninth place in the national competition in Washington, D.C., in 2010.
“I study from the dictionary,” said Vaidya, now a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Herbert A . Ammons Middle near Homestead.
His other technique is to ask the judges multiple questions, like to repeat the pronunciation, what is the origin and what is the part of speech. Before spelling out loud, Vaidya writes the word out with his finger in the palm of his hand. “I can figure out what the word looks like,” he said.
His dad, Muthiah Govindarajan, is his coach. “Vocabulary is very important. Wherever you go, you have to communicate properly,” he said.
Another finalist was also a previous champ: Claire Zuo, a eighth-grader at Palmetto Middle School. She placed third this year, after winning last year. While other students may see studying for spelling bees as just extra homework, Claire said spelling is fun: “It’s not boring. Every word is different.”
More than 200 elementary and middle school students from Miami-Dade and Monroe counties competed in the Miami Herald’s 72nd annual spelling bee. Students came from public, private and charter schools to compete at Jungle Island in Miami.
Last month, more than 125 spellers in Broward County competed. The winners of both the Broward and Miami-Dade/Monroe Bees in the middle school category will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the end of May.
The Miami Herald Spelling Bee Middle School champions also receive a free one-year subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online for Kids, the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, a $100 Series EE U.S. Savings Bond and a Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. Other prizes and plaques are awarded to the Elementary School Champion and the finalists.