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Columbia County speller eliminated from National Spelling Bee

Posted: June 1, 2014 - 12:02am
Charles Li made a birdhouse at an arts and crafts session for all the kids in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.   Special Photo
Special Photo
Charles Li made a birdhouse at an arts and crafts session for all the kids in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Charles Li didn’t falter at the microphone Wednesday, spelling “jacamar” and “oniomania” with relative ease on stage at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Spelling those words wasn’t quite enough, however.

The 11-year-old said vocabulary tests proved to be his weakness, causing him to miss the cut for the semifinal rounds. Only 46 of the 281 spellers advanced, according to the Spelling Bee results released late
Wednesday.

“Today he was good on the stage,” said his mother, Grace Wang, who traveled with him to Washington, D.C. “But when my husband got the (test) results, he didn’t make it.”

Semifinalists are selected based on how well they do in oral spelling rounds and combined scores of computerized tests given to all spellers Tuesday.

When Charles saw that he wasn’t in that group, he admitted he was disappointed.

“I guess we are just going to stay around the hotel and watch TV,” he said, a bit dejected until he learned that his mother was taking him out for a treat.

“Yea!” he said, agreeing that ice cream makes about anything better.

Charles, who just completed fifth grade at Stevens Creek Elementary School, won a regional spelling bee in March sponsored by The Augusta Chronicle, which qualified him to advance to his first National Spelling Bee this week.

He is already looking forward to giving it another shot, his mother
said.

“He wants to come back next year,” Wang said. “I told him he will have to work hard.”

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