Earl Warren student ready for National Spelling Bee
Earl Warren Middle School eighth-grader Alex B. Kahng is among the field of 273 students in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which begins today in Washington, D.C.
Kahng will begin the bee by taking a 50-word test on a computer keyboard. Only 25 words of the test will be counted toward the spellers’ scores, with one point given for each word spelled correctly.
On Thursday, the spellers will take part in rounds two and three, which are conducted on stage and require each student to spell one word in each round. Spellers earn three points for each correctly spelled word, giving each speller the chance to earn up to 31 points in the first three rounds.
At the end of round three, the field will be reduced to a maximum of 50 spellers based on their scores.
The semifinal round will begin at 7 a.m. California time Friday, with a contestant generally eliminated when he or she misspells a word.
The championship round will begin at 5 p.m. California time Friday.
Rounds two and three can be seen on the broadband network ESPN3 beginning at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, while the semifinal round can be seen on ESPN at 7 a.m. Friday, both live. The finals will be shown on ABC, tape-delayed on the West Coast, at 8 p.m. Friday.
The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below, with this year’s contestants ranging in age from 8 to 15.
Kahng, 14, also participates in both middle school and high school math competitions and hopes to become a math professor. He also plays in table tennis tournaments. An aunt, Lyn Sue Kahng, finished second in the 1978 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The spelling bee’s winner will receive $30,000 from Scripps, which owns television stations and newspapers, a $5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, and reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica valued at $2,700.
Southern California has produced only one champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which began in 1925, Anurag Kashyap of Poway, the 2005 winner.
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