2/25/14 Shiv Patel wins bee with the word ‘v-a-g-a-r-i-o-u-s’
|All abuzz about spelling|
Photos by Sam Roberts / Times-News
Above, Turrentine Middle School student Shiv Patel won the 2014 Times-News Spelling Bee at Cummings High School auditorium Monday.
Shiv Patel wins bee with the word ‘v-a-g-a-r-i-o-u-s’
By Isaac Groves The Times-News 2/25/14
Reprinted with permission.
|At top are the individual trophies for the students who participated.|
The winning word was “vagarious,” a Latin root word with an English connecting form meaning whimsical or capricious, idle of notion.
It took about 90 minutes and nine rounds of words, not counting the practice round, to get to it Monday afternoon at the Times-News Spelling Bee.
Shiv Patel, 14, got it, in the ninth round, but at that point he had no competition. He will be headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.
The Turrentine Middle School eighth-grader was the only survivor of round eight when he correctly spelled “malleation”: the act of beating with a hammer or the state of being beaten with a hammer, but had to have a winning round according to spelling bee rules.
In round seven, Patel and all five out of 33 who started the bee, all got their words wrong. It is hard to blame them. “Grimoire,” “Kantian,” “chivalrous,” “opponency” and “disconsolate” are tough ones.
Patel made a habit of asking for definitions and language of origin for almost all his words.
“If I don’t know the word, I can partly spell it in my head because certain languages have certain ways to spell a word,” Patel said after receiving his award. “Like French or German will use a lot of k’s.”
He said it was also part of his study strategy. When he studied his words, five times each in daily four-hour sessions, he grouped them by language of origin, so getting the language could jog his memory.
It worked, too. Pronouncer Linda Lee decided to give Patel a little extra practice after the last round. While they were waiting for the awards to be brought out, she gave him a couple of words, “just for fun.”
“Nomographer,” a writer of laws, he got, knowing it was of Greek origin. Lee decided to go to the back of the book, word 500, the hardest one, for a stumper. “Hakenkreuz,” the swastika symbolizing anti-Semitism or Germany under the Nazi regime, he missed, but he said he would be ready for that one in Washington.
Since Patel was the only one of five to get out of the last round, there was an unprecedented four-way tie for runner-up. Burke King, Paarth Tara, Deja Howard and Anna Neese shared that title.
Heading into the national spelling bee, Patel said, he will step that up. As an eighth-grader, he has his last chance to compete in the spelling bee.
“I’ll have more free time now,” Patel said.
He has done this before. Patel won the Times-News Spelling Bee in 2011, but did not get past the qualifying round at the national bee.
Monday afternoon started easily enough. The practice round started with “cat.” But that was just a warm-up.
The first round knocked out 12 spellers. The first fell to “nosh” a German word adopted into Yiddish, meaning to have a snack. “Sonata,” “sitzmark” and “mathematics” claimed spellers as well.
Those spellers returned to their seats, put the big yellow sheets with their numbers on them under their seats and, for the most part, sat stoically on stage for the rest of the competition.
All these spellers won the bees at their schools, so as moderator and Times-News Executive Editor Madison Taylor said, they were already winners.