Local youth eliminated from spelling bee

May 28, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

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Justin Warner

Hagerstown resident Justin W. Warner seemed to take in stride the fact that he was eliminated Wednesday in the first round of the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.

"I just said, 'Hey, I got $50 and a week off school,'" said the eighth-grader at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

Justin, 14, said he was a little nervous as he and 125 contestants in his group stood under the hot lights and attempted to spell brain-taxing words like circinate (rounded) and tatterdemalion (appearing ragged).


Justin was given tarpaulin, the word for a piece of material used for protecting exposed areas that most people shorten to "tarp."

He incorrectly added an "e" to the end, the same thing he did earlier, when his dad quizzed him.

"I almost subconsciously knew there wasn't an 'e.' It just like popped out," he said.

As for the prize money, Justin said he will probably put it in the bank.

"It'll be my mom's idea," he said.

Two other Tri-State area students are among those who survived the first three rounds of competition Wednesday:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Nathaniel Kopp, 12, a sixth-grader at Greencastle-Antrim (Pa.) Middle School correctly spelled honorarium (a type of payment) and miscreant (a criminal).

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Clara Anne Raubertas, 12, a seventh-grader at Charles Town Junior High School, in Charles Town, W.Va., advanced with the words anticoagulant (a blood thinner) and nugacious (trifling).

Justin and his father said they have been enjoying the trip to Washington, D.C., sponsored by The Herald-Mail Co.

They arrived on Sunday and toured Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate, on Tuesday.

"It was interesting to walk on the same floor as George Washington and bump your head on the same places as him," he said.

Justin earned a spot in the county competition by finishing second in his school's spelling bee, tripping up on "peninsula."

"Somehow, I won the county," he said.

Justin said he did not study very hard for the contest and was not greatly enthused.

But he had gotten excited about this week's competition and planned to watch the outcome of the later rounds.

George Douglas Warner, a retired psychologist, said his son has not done a great deal aimed at building his spelling knowledge.

"He reads a lot and he picks up things easily," he said.

While in Washington, Justin got to see the sights and mingle with the other contestants. An avid science fiction fan, he said he bought a "Star Wars" T-shirt in Georgetown.

Justin said he played volleyball on Monday with contestants from Illinois, New York and the Virgin Islands.

"One kid looked at her mom and spoke Spanish and then turned to me and spoke English," he said.

Two other Tri-State area students competed in the spelling bee. They are:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Christine S. Shrier, 14, an eighth-grader at Paw Paw (W.Va.) High School. She was eliminated in the first round.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Lauren Penwell, 14, an eighth-grader at Hedgesville (W.Va.) Middle School. She made it to the third round, where she misspelled by one letter neophiliac (one with a love of new or novel things).

The final round today will be broadcast by ESPN.

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