Jun 1, 2023 - News

Two South Florida kids make the national spelling bee

Juan Rondeau competing in Maryland Tuesday. Photo: E. M. Pio Roda / Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Congratulations to two local students who qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee: fifth-grader Lancaster Gramer and eighth-grader Juan Rondeau.

What's happening: The finals are Thursday on ION at 8pm.

The intrigue: Controversially, the Spelling Bee rules changed in 2021.

  • During some rounds, instead of spelling, contestants must choose the meaning of a vocabulary word from three options.
  • On Tuesday, 172 contestants spelled their first words correctly. Of those, 33 (19.2%) then got the vocabulary answers wrong, per Fox News.

The latest: Lancaster, who is 11 and attends Franklin Academy Cooper City, was eliminated after making it to 140th place out of 231 contestants.

  • He correctly spelled chastushka, but got tripped up on the meaning of merino (fine wool and cotton yarn used for knitwear).
  • Juan, a 14-year-old who attends Westminster Christian School, correctly spelled kichel, fantabulous and arviculture — and answered rightly that auricular means "perceived through the sense of hearing" — but finished in 22nd place after misspelling bardane.

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