Tigard champ heads to third and final Regional Spelling Bee
Fowler Middle School eighth grader Luc Ta doesnt do nervous. When he steps onto the stage this weekend, he'll be all business.
The 13th annual Portland Tribune/Comcast Regional Spelling Bee returns to Portland this weekend, Saturday, March 12, at the Hollywood Theatre.
Spellers between the fourth and eighth grades from more than 50 schools in the tri-county region will participate, including several from the Tigard-Tualatin and Sherwood school districts.The Times' parent company, Community Newspapers, is a major sponsor of the event.
But among the contestants, a few notable faces wont be in attendance this year, including the 2015 reigning champion, West Linns Natalie Cha from Three Rivers Charter School.
That leaves the door wide open for a new champion. Observers say Hillsboros Vipanchi Mungara, is the one to beat this year. Mungara, at age 11, was runner-up last year.
But Ta, 14, from Fowler Middle School, also has his eyes on the prize.
This will be Tas third regional spelling bee.
It all started in 6th grade, Ta recalled. I thought, Maybe itll be cool if I try out (for my school spelling bee). Maybe Ill get second place, but I won, which was surprising.
That lead up to the Regional competition, where he has placed third the past two years.
Its good for my education, Ta said.
Tigard-Tualatin, Sherwood contestants
Tigard-Tualatin School District
Cate Phipps, 12 – Hazelbrook Middle School
Luc Ta, 14 – Fowler Middle School
Kavya Balasubramanian, 14 – Twality Middle School
Sherwood School District
Sogia Maciejewski, 11 – Archer Glen Elementary School
Lilly Bryant, 9 – Edy Ridge Elementary School
Nathan Domingo, 10 – J. Clyde Hopkins Elementary School
Kieran Tran, 11 – Middleton Elementary School
Sarah Bashir, 12 – Islamic School of MET
Ta said that spelling has always come naturally to him.
Ive read since an early age, he said. I like reading, and I pick up on patterns in words pretty easily.
Give him a word with a Latin or Greek origin and its easy to see how the letters fall into place, he said.
I can comprehend those a lot more easily than some other kids might, he said. Im really good any analyzing things and pickup up on patterns, but Im not so good at rote memorization.
Last year, Ta was knocked out of the competition by the word muzak, a brand of background music in retail stores.
I struggled with that one, he said. It didnt have a pattern or origin.
Ta has yet to graduate middle school, but hes already planning for his future.
I obviously want to get into college, he said. Im hoping for something prestigious. Im aiming for Ivy League, since Im an overachiever, but Im still deciding what Ill want to study.
With his last Spelling Bee only a few days away, Ta said hes not nervous.
I have experience with it. And Im pretty confident about how Ill do. I cant guarantee that Ill win, but Im not nervous.
His parents are more nervous than he is, his father Max Ta said.
The winner gets expenses paid to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May. They also get a $100 American Express gift certificate from Comcast, a Websters Third New International Dictionary, and a one-year subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online Student Edition.
Ta said hes been studying up ahead of this weekends competition.
I keep reading the study guide and have my parents quiz me while were driving, he said.