Can you spell F Daily News Staff Reporter When 13 year old Jasmine Skinner heard the word Saturday afternoon that would either make her a spelling bee champion or send her back into the fray for another round against three of the best spellers in the province, she was stumped.
"That is correct!" oakley sunglasses purple declared head judge Linda McMillan, and after three years of trying, Jasmine had won the 2010 Kamloops Daily News Regional Final of the Canwest Canspell Spelling Bee. "I didn't expect to win," said the Grade 8 student, who lives in Enderby and attends Anchor Academy, after accepting her trophy and other prizes. "I was hoping for top five." Mom Shashi, who helped her daughter study, admitted to being nervous in the final stages half jacket of the bee. So did dad Kevin. "'Tchotchke,'" he said, repeating the word given to Jasmine by pronouncer Anita Swing in the 26th round. "I'm going, what is that?!" A tchotchke, by the way, is a word of Polish Yiddish origin that means knickknack. And while it may have surprised her dad, and a whole lot of other people in the TRU Grand Hall, it didn't stop Jasmine, and neither did anything else the pronouncer and judges threw at her. This fourth annual regional bee, by all accounts, was the most exciting ever. Thirty spellers each one a champion at his or her school gathered from around the Central Interior to challenge for the right to go to Ottawa to compete in the national final from March 24 to 29. As Mayor Peter Milobar told them as the bee got underway, Kamloops is the Tournament Capital and it isn't just about sports. As the hours went by and the field narrowed, everyone in the room discovered that spelling can oakley vault sunglasses be just as exciting as gold medal hockey. The quality of the field quickly became evident. After the first round, 29 spellers were still on stage. In round two, five more heard the dreaded bell indicating they'd misspelled their word, Round after round it went, the words getting harder and harder, until it was down to 10 spellers, then four Jasmine, 2009 regional champ Jonathan Donas of Kamloops Christian School, 2009 runner up Graham Abraham of oakley sun Lloyd George elementary, and South Sahali elementary's Charlie Choi. As judges Jack Miller and Connie Brim listened intently, the words kept coming. The four remaining word warriors passed the 17th round the one on which 12 year old Jonathan had won last year. Now he succeeded on "precipice," "vernacular," "metamorphosis," " misogynist" and "rasgado." Meanwhile, Graham was working his way through "trattoria," "tamarind" and "prosciutto," while Charlie knocked off "pneumatic," "jeremiad" and "pogrom." At round 23, Jasmine almost stumbled on "euthanasia." After a couple of letters, she asked to start over, which is legal as long as you don't change the letters. But she got through it, then moved on to "rottweiler" and "tchotchke," the one that puzzled her anxious dad. Then, something happened that the judges had never faced before they were out of words from the Spell It guide, the huge list provided to spellers to study. After a break, they started in on a whole new list from the dictionary chosen beforehand by a panel of experts. In the 27th round, Jonathan put an extra "p" in "opal," Graham spelled "escrow" with a "t" instead of a "w," and 11 year old Charlie missed an "e" in "peevish." Then, it was Jasmine's turn, and she completed "asterisk" without a hitch. Suddenly, she was on the verge of victory, but not before she was given that one final word, the one they call the "anticipated championship word." If she missed it, the other three would be called back on stage and the torture would resume. But she didn't. "The hardest word was 'euthanasia,'" she said later, though she had to think about "asterisk" as well. She got that one by thinking about her brother's Asterix comic books and making the necessary change. What now? The nationals, of course.
"I'll probably study the same way I did for the regionals." And she has a beautiful trophy from presenting partner Canada Post, a gift from regional bee partner TRU, Air Canada flights to and from Ottawa, and a $5,000 education fund from Egg Farmers of Canada. At the national bee she'll compete for the Canwest Canspell Cup and a $15,000 cash award.
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