Eighth Graders Return to Regional Spelling and Geography Bees
Eighth Graders Return to Regional Spelling and Geography Bees

The words "bezoar" and "recidivist" were no match for Frank, who survived three rounds of the CBS Bay Area Spelling Bee.

Two eighth-graders qualified for the Bay Area Spelling Bee and the state National Geographic Geography Bee after being crowned Stuart Hall champions in their respective disciplines.

Frank and Vincent who, for a second year in a row, outlasted other Middle Form students to advance to highly competitive regional events, first had to take a challenging written test to qualify.

Facing off against 50 of the Bay Area's best spellers on March 18 in a grueling three-hour televised competition, Frank successfully made it through the first three rounds, correctly spelling "manicure," "bezoar" and "recidivist."

KPIX-5 stopped by campus to record a special cheer that aired during the spelling bee on March 18.

In the fourth round, Frank was given "epistrophy." He asked pronouncer and KCBS radio anchor Stan Bunger for alternate pronunciations, language of origin and its definition before misspelling the challenging word to end his successful run.

In preparing for the bee, Frank says he tried to focus on identifying the origin of words. After countless hours of studying, he admits that his favorite word is surprisingly simple: gale. "It makes whatever sentence you're describing about wind or anything else, very exciting," he adds.

Meanwhile, Frank's friend Vincent is preparing to compete against 100 of the state's top geography students in fourth through eighth grades on March 31 in Fresno.

Vincent says he first became interested in geography in the fourth grade by closely studying a map on the classroom wall. "I probably looked at it way too much and paid less attention than I should have in class, but it got me interested in geography."

His advice to would-be participants: "Memorize the world map and the locations of countries. You'll be able to answer the majority of the questions if you know that."

The winner of the state bee will represent California at the National Geographic Geography Bee Championship in Washington, D.C. Vincent, who says he finished in the top quartile last year, likes his chances.

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