Friday, May 30, 2008

Sameer Mishra, the New Champ of 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Among the 288 participants of this year’s 2008 SNSB, an eight-grader 13-year-old male student took the first place, which was hailed from West Lafayette, Indiana. Sameer Mishra who comes from West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School is in his fourth year in the competition. As the 81st winner, he receives a total cash of US$35,000 and an additional US$5,000 worth of other prizes, besides from a trophy. He will also receive a set of the Britannica Encyclopedia worth US$3,500.

Sameer loves to read of which he is a member the school’s book club. He also enjoys playing computer and video games, as well as board games. He has been playing the violin for four years in his school orchestra. Physically, he likes to ride his bike and hang out with his friends having his favorite subjects, science and math. As a competitive student, he participates in contests such as Spell Bowl, Academic Super Bowl and Indiana State School Music Association. He aspires to be a neurosurgeon. His sister Shruti, a three-year competitor in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, is his spelling coach.

His parents who are with him which was focused by the camera on several times, each round he made the correct spelling of the word smiles and hugged each other. Unmistakably, as it is so obvious, he is of an Indian descent.

This contest was held in Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington DC, which started May 29 (semi-finals, Live on ESPN) until the evening of May 30 Finals which is live telecast on ABC, 8-10 p.m. ET. The 288 spellers were reduced to 45 semi-finalists. Among this year's spellers are five of 2007 finalists or repeaters, and they are Natasha Elizabeth Thomas, 13, of Oakhurst, California; Matthew C. Evans, 13, of Albuquerque; Anqi Dong, 13, of Saskatoon, Canada; Kavya Shivashankar, 12, of Olathe, Kansas; Cody Aoan Wang, 14, of Calgary, Canada. They were as well among the favorites.

Unfortunately, among the 12 finalist, the strong contingent of Canadians was all eliminated.

It could be very well recalled, the 2007 champion Evan O’Dorney from Danville, California said from his interview last year right after winning, "Spelling is just a bunch of memorization" and that it couldn't compare with algebra, his passion. When he is ask now about his winnings, he added, “the money is all in my savings account. I didn't do anything special with it.” He is now in a linear algebra class at (the University of California at) Berkeley and a participant of various math competitions whom he is in the winning series.

First time speller for 2008 Spelling Bee, Sidharth Chand, 12, get the second place. He is a seventh-grader from Detroit Country Day Middle School, Michigan having the deepest appreciation for science and math.

3rd Placer, Tia-Natasha Elizabeth Thomas, 13, who was the lone female of the last five last year is still unfortunate this time. It could be well noticed that she is not wearing anymore her sets of multiple bracelets she used to wear on her left wrist as her charm. She even asks for a Californian pronunciation of the word “canicular” at one point that made everybody in laughter.

One moment earlier of comic relief is when 8th Place Tier, Jahnavi Iyer, 14, who pondered the medical term "solidungulate" as she finally asked for an Asian pronunciation of that word. The pronouncer, Professor Jacques Bailly laughed and said: "That's too good."

Another funny moment is when the speller-champ makes somewhat confuse reaction about a word given to him in one of his round that even the commentators together with the audience are made chuckling and wondering whether they heard the word right.

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