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Carpaccio spells victory for Damascus teen

Trevor Fonvergne now heads to Scripps national bee in Washington, D.C.
by: KATIE HARTLEY, After a lengthy back-and-forth bout between the final two spellers that included such stumpers as “larmoyant” and “ophiophagous,” Trevor Fonvergne emerged victorious in Saturday’s Regional Spelling Bee.

After a nail-biter of a showdown between the top two spellers on Saturday, Trevor Fonvergne of Damascus Middle School finally took the prize, correctly spelling the winning word, 'carpaccio.'

In front of a packed house at the Hollywood Theatre, Trevor asked for the word's language of origin and 'once he found out it was Italian, knew it wasn't 'ch,' said the seventh-grader's mother, Lisa Fonvergne.

'I cried when he won. I just couldn't hold back the tears. It was pure joy. We just went into it to experience it and really didn't expect to win.'

Trevor, 13, beat out 42 other competitors in the fifth annual Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee, presented by OnPoint Credit Union. He now will go on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., held May 29 and May 30.

Aubrey Hall, 13, an eighth-grader in the Access Alternative Program at Northeast Portland's Sabin School, was the runner-up, losing after a hard-fought battle with Trevor. The two traded smiles and high-fives as they both missed the same word but had the chance to redeem themselves by spelling the next word correctly.

For Lisa Fonvergne, Trevor's victory was the highlight of a tough past three years, since he was diagnosed as diabetic at age 10, she said.

'He's a trouper,' she said. 'He pricks his finger every time he eats (to check his blood sugar level) and plugs the number into the computer.' A diabetic pump he wears on his stomach then gives him insulin throughout the day.

For the first time this year, the bee wasn't limited to middle-school students. It expanded to include third- through eighth-graders, to allow kids at different levels the opportunity to compete.

The 43 spellers Saturday included students from public, private and alternative schools as well as home-school groups in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties.

Of those, 11 Portland Public Schools were represented: Sabin's Access program, Clarendon-Portsmouth School, da Vinci Arts Middle School, Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy for Young Women, Jackson Middle School, Robert Gray Middle School, Roseway Heights School, Sellwood Middle School, West Sylvan Middle School, Winterhaven School and Woodlawn School.

Lisa Fonvergne, who works for the family-owned forklift business, said her son is thrilled to be visiting the East Coast since he loves art, music and theater.

As for competing in the national bee, Fonvergne said her son, of course, wants to win but isn't taking it too seriously.

'(On Saturday), we went into it with anticipation - just go try as hard as you can,' she said. 'That's what we're looking to do this time, too.'