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Spelling his way to the top

Damascus student takes first place in spelling bee, will head to Washington, D.C., next
by: Katie Hartley, Trevor Fonvergne, 13, of Damascus Middle School hugs the runner-up after winning the 2008 Portland Tribune/
Comcast Regional Spelling Bee at the Hollywood Theater on Saturday, March 8, by correctly spelling the word “carpaccio.”

For the past couple days, Lisa Fonvergne has been weeping over what her son did.

If his behavior continues in this manner, it's likely she will be shedding even more tears.

Fonvergne's son, Trevor, 13, a seventh-grader at Damascus Middle School, won the Fifth Annual Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 8, at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland.

Trevor bested more than 40 other spellers from elementary and middle schools in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. As reports of her son have been published in area newspapers, Fonvergne says she's been crying tears of joy as she's read them.

'When he got to the final four, we were in shock,' she says. 'It was pretty exciting. We were pumped up.'

Trevor's father, Lonnie, has been working on spelling with his son almost every night since he won the Damascus spelling bee in early February, Trevor says. He adds that he studied French and Greek dictionaries to bone up on word roots, as well as the book 'How to Spell Like a Champ,' written by former national champions Barrie Trinkle and Paige Kimble, as well as Carolyn Andrews, whose son, Ned, was the 1994 National Spelling Champion.

In the final moments of the bee, Trevor went head-to-head with Aubrey Hall, 13, from Access Alternative Program at Northeast Portland's Sabin School. The two spellers competed through 20 rounds before Trevor spelled 'dyspepsia' and 'carpaccio' correctly to win.

Trevor's diligence in studying Greek paid off when he spelled 'dyspepsia,' he says, noting 'Greek usually uses 'ys.' ' He adds that when he learned carpaccio - a thinly sliced raw meat appetizer - was an Italian word, he was ready to roll.

'It was Italian, so I assumed it was spelled with a 'cc' instead of a 'ch'.'

With his parents and his sister, Christine, a senior at Barlow High School, Trevor will travel to Washington, D.C., for the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday and Friday, May 29-30.

Trevor says his mother is excited to see the Smithsonian Institution, and he's excited to see the White House.

'You see it on TV so much you never know what it's like until you see it.'

He adds that he's eager to test his spelling skills on the national stage.

'I just think it's really fun to do a spelling bee because you never know what's going to happen, and you never know what you're going to get.'

The spelling bee is normally broadcast on ESPN.