Poway Unified sixth-grader claims San Diego County spelling bee title

Eleven-year-old Mihir Konkapaka was named San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee Champion after a nearly seven-hour contest on Thursday.

Mihir, a sixth-grader at the Connect Academy’s virtual academy at Poway Unified School District, won the victory by successfully writing the word “sabreur,” meaning “one who is fenced with a light sword of duel.”

Jedd Li, a student at Francis Parker School, came in second.

Both students were among 60 who would compete in the county’s 52nd annual bee. The event is organized by The San Diego Union-Tribune in partnership with the San Diego County Education Bureau and funded by the San Diego County Credit Union.

The bee is open to sixth to eighth grade students attending public or private schools in the county. Schools run their own competitions to determine the winners of the county competition.

At a time when people rely on phones and computers to communicate for them, spelling contests aim to promote literacy and increase students’ vocabulary. The competitions also aim to build students’ confidence, balance, public speaking and other skills, said Walter Ritter, this year’s spell announcer and executive director of Write Out Loud.

“These skills will help you in future endeavors, both at school and throughout your life,” Ritter said at the beginning of the event.

Like last year, the competition was held online via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students zoomed in from bedrooms or rooms in their respective schools. All contestants were asked to have their arms crossed and be visible in front of their cameras.

Involvement in the local bee recovers slowly after a stroke due to the pandemic.

In 2020, local and national orthography were canceled due to COVID. Last yearwhen many schools were still closed for interpersonal learning, only 37 students participated in the bee.

Before the pandemic, an average of 90 to 100 students competed in the county bee, according to the San Diego County Education Bureau.

This year ‘s competition started with words like “software” and “era” and in the last round evolved into words like “algedonic” and “mucous”.

The words for the local bee come from the Scripps National Bee’s dictionary, according to the county education bureau. Officials recommend bee contestants to practice using the official Scripps study guidecontaining 4,000 words.

Mihir, who lives in Saber Springs, said this year was the first time he had competed in spelling. He said he tried it because he likes to read a lot of books and the school offered him the opportunity to compete, said Mihir’s father, Phanikumar Konkapaka.

Mihir said he studied for at least an hour a day using Word Club, a mobile app offered by Scripps National Spelling Bee as a study tool for contestants.

Mihir also attributed it to his teachers who helped him study by taking quizzes and examining the roots of the words.

As a winner, Mihir is taking a trip at all costs to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC this summer. As second, Jedd will be a substitute if Mihir is unable to play.

“It’s crazy, I did not think I would get to this point where I would go to the national team,” said Mihir, after the winner was announced. “I feel really excited.”

The Scripps National Spelling Bee was founded in 1925 when nine newspapers teamed up to host the event.

Poway Unified sixth-grader claims San Diego County spelling bee title Source link Poway Unified sixth-grader claims San Diego County spelling bee title

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