"Hyeometer" stumped 11-year-old Katharine Wang when she was asked to provide its spelling during the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington DC on Thursday. The Fangcaodi International School sixth grader from Beijing managed five rounds, tackling words like “roodebok” (an African antelope more commonly known as the impala) and “quebracho” (a species of tropical tree) before stumbling on the technical word for a rain gauge.
Wang may not have won the bee (that honor – and the USD 30,000 in championship dough – eventually went to Arving Mahankali of Bayside Hills, New York, who was called the LeBron James of spelling bees), but she survived nearly a third of the 18 rounds. Wang certainly has more guts than the adults who were too chicken to participate in The Bookworm’s bee during their literary festival. After several failed attempts at throwing together a tournament, they finally gave up this year.
You’d think there would be an English teacher or two out there in Beijing who could work up the courage to participate in a bee. Spelling is a good life skill and is a key part of literacy, as it is the mechanism that encompasses all parts of a word – the entymology, the morphology, and ultimately, its meaning.
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