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Brainerd eighth-grader misses semifinals at national spelling bee

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Forestview Middle School eighth-grader Matthew Majerle failed Wednesday to qualify for the semifinal round at the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee held in Washington, D.C.

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Matthew, 14, the son of John and Mary Ann Majerle of Brainerd, was sponsored by National Joint Powers Alliance, Staples. Matthew won his shot at nationals after winning the Brainerd School District sixth- through eighth-grade spelling bee and The Lakes Bee, the regional bee.

The first round and a written test were held Tuesday. Matthew said he correctly spelled 14 out of 25 words on the written test. On Wednesday, Though Matthew spelled “habitus” correctly in Round 2 and “edaphic” correctly in Round 3 for a contest total of 20 points, Matthew learned later Wednesday he would not be advancing in the bee because of a low point total.

“It was a great experience, getting to see how devoted some of the contestants were to this bee and to have the chance to compete against some of the sharpest minds in the country,” Matthew said in an email. “I’m also having a great time in DC and I am enjoying the many things it has to offer.”

The semifinals and finals will be held Thursday and will be aired live on ESPN. Semifinals will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and finals will be held from 8-10 p.m.

Matthew joined four other Minnesota students at the national competition. They are Emma Greenlee, sponsored by Lakes Country Service Cooperative, Fergus Falls; Elise K. Stahl, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., Minneapolis; Antony Joseph, South Central Service Cooperative, North Mankato; and Roshini Shreya Asirvatham, Southeast Service Cooperative, Rochester.

This year there will be 278 spellers from the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe; as well as the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

The spellers range in age from 6 to 15 years old, but 84 percent are between the ages of 12 and 14 years old.

Last year, Connor Gunsbury, who is a Brainerd ninth-grader this school year, tied for 19th place during semifinals in the national spelling bee.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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