Beaverton middle-schooler Divya Amirtharaj correctly spelled rapscallion and hegemonic to win the ninth annual Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee Saturday at the Hollywood Theatre.
Amirtharaj, 11, is a student at Meadow Park Middle School. She topped 55 other spellers during the annual contest. The runner-up was 9-year-old Umbre Khan from the Islamic School of the Muslim Education Trust in Tigard. She misspelled cabaret in the final round.
Saturdays event went for 12 rounds and lasted three hours.
Amirtharaj wins a $100 American Express gift certificate from Comcast, a Webster's Third New International Dictionary, a one-year subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online Student Edition and an all expense paid one-week trip to Washington, D.C., in late May to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Each year, the Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee invites fourth through eighth grade students attending Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas county public, private, alternative and home school groups to compete in the regional spelling bee. Students advance to the regional bee after winning their individual school bees.
The Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee tested spellers on words from the 2013 Pronouncer Guide, the official word list provided by Scripps National Spelling Bee. The pronouncer for the regional spelling bee is Colin Fogarty, editor of Northwest News Network and contributing reporter to OPB Radio.
The Portland Tribune launched the Regional Spelling Bee in 2002 to give Portland-area students an opportunity to compete on a national level. More than 250 students from around the country and the world compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. To compete in the national spelling bee, students must be sponsored by a local newspaper.
Along with competing in the bee, the winning student will have the opportunity to tour Washington, D.C. and participate in organized social events with other spellers.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee was started by The Louisville-Courier-Journal in 1925 with nine sponsoring newspapers and nine contestants. It was made famous by the thrilling documentary movie Spellbound, and more recently by the movie Aquilla and the Bee.