Shelley Clark, 13, returns to nationals after winning local bee
by: , CLARK

Shelley Clark knew she was golden when she heard the final word, 'plumicorn,' at Saturday's Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee.

Like all the other words, it was easy, she said. After all, she had been studying for a year.

Just to be sure, she asked for a definition. Plumicorn, the little tuft of feathers in front of an owl's ears, she recalls hearing.

Clark then spelled the word using her tried-and-true method and went on to take first in the fourth-annual regional bee, qualifying for the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee for the second year in a row.

'I kind of picture a computer screen in my head and see how the word is spelled, and if it looks wrong, I don't spell it that way,' said 13-year-old Clark, of Tigard, who is home-schooled and attends Village Home Education Resource Center in Beaverton.

Runner-up Robyn Pritzker, 13, of Robert Gray Middle School in Southwest Portland, went out on 'ignominious,' outspelling about 45 middle-schoolers from Multnomah and Washington counties.

Clark now has her eyes set on the national bee, which is set for May 30 and May 31 in Washington, D.C. Last year, Clark was eliminated in the third round of the national bee, and began studying intensely that evening for her next go-round.

Clark's mother, Rosalyn Newhouse, said it was nerve-racking watching her daughter at Saturday's bee, but 'Shelley was very calm and confident and collected. This was the big hurdle to clear to get to nationals. Now we're both relieved and excited. She's got her study schedule planned for the next 10 weeks.'

Comcast, one of the sponsors of the regional event, plans to broadcast the regional bee on Comcast Channel 14 at 8 p.m. April 9; 7:30 p.m. April 21 and 11 a.m. April 22. The event will be available on Comcast's On Demand service starting April 23.

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