It took 22 rounds and 153 words in the Muscogee County School District 2019 Spelling Bee before the 45 contestants in grades 4-8 were down to one on the Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts auditorium stage Wednesday.
And the final word, “diffa,” has a fitting meeting — an Arabic reception or banquet — because it gave Reese Road Leadership Academy fifth-grade Ryan Tadiparthi a good reason to celebrate: He won the championship.
Fort Middle School seventh-grader Chaniya Davis finished second. As the school district’s runner-up, she qualified along with Ryan to represent MCSD in the Region 6 competition Feb. 23 at Fort Valley State University.
Chaniya prevailed over third-place finisher Jack Higgins, a sixth-grader at Double Churches Middle School, after both missed eight straight words. The rules, however, required them to remain on stage until one of them spelled a word correctly to determine the other finalist. Chaniya finally did that by spelling “cacophony.”
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Ryan admitted that he was nervous when the competition started “because there were a lot of people there,” he said. “I’ve never been to a county spelling bee.”
In fact, he said, he missed his first word, “bicycle,” in Reese Road’s spelling bee as a fourth-grader.
“I was mad that I lost last year,” he said.
So he studied word lists extra hard during the Christmas break and used the website Quizlet.
“I told myself, ‘Don’t worry,’” Ryan said. “I owe it all to my mom. She helped me, and my brother did a little too.”
That preparation paid off Wednesday, when he was familiar with each of the words he was asked to spell.
“I knew I would win,” he said.
In addition to studying word lists, Ryan said, being a good speller comes from not playing video games and reading a lot of books instead. His favorites are in the “Goosebumps” series.
Are you a better speller than the 45 students in grades 4-8 who qualified for the Muscogee County School District 2019 Spelling Bee by winning or being the runner-up at their school’s competition? Well, here’s your chance to find out or test your friends. These are the words the contestants misspelled during the competition:
Round 1: damask, siesta, homily, barbarous, rivulets, gangrene, sturgeon, penitent, haberdashery, eclair, corrugated, pegasi, catacombs, reprimand, inertia, impregnable, muttonchops, emaciated, consonants, attenuated.
Round 2: cyanide, recompense, expiation, tetrarch, courteous, rapacious, affidavit, canapes, voltaic, homo sapiens, ichor.
Round 3: ambuscade, balaclavas, marengo.
Round 4: current, trek.
Round 5: errand.
Round 6: access, renovate.
Round 9: loam, denim.
Round 11: Holi, vorlage.
Round 12: schadenfreude, uitlander.
Round 13: Beetewk, dreidel.
Round 14: alim, bobadil.
Round 15: prosciutto, debacle.
Round 16: fantocchini, menhaden.
Round 17: zephyr, hafiz.
Round 18: sachem, anschluss.
Round 19: khor.
Round 21: tertiary.
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.