Jamaican girl crowned national spelling champ
Wins $10,000 by correctly spelling 'chiaroscurist'
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Web posted at: 7:10 p.m. EDT (2310 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A seventh-grader from Kingston, Jamaica, credited "God and training" for her victory Thursday in the 71st annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
Jody-Anne Maxwell, 12, became the champ when she correctly spelled "chiaroscurist," which is an artist who uses light and shade to produce the illusion of depth. She said she was able to spell chiaroscurist because she knew its derivative, chiaroscuros.
Maxwell beat out 248 other contestants ages 9 through 15 from the United States, Guam, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Europe and American Samoa.
It was her first time as a national contestant, and she is the first winner from outside the United States.
To win, she eliminated Prem Murthy Trivedi, 12, who made his fourth and final appearance in the national bee. As he did last year, he finished second. The eighth-grader at Lakewood Preparatory School in Howell, New Jersey, was felled by "prairillon," which means a small prairie or meadow.
The third-place finisher was Hirsh Sandesara, 13, an eighth-grader from Maple School in Northbrook, Illinois. He was eliminated by "maieutic," referring to a teaching method practiced by Socrates.
Maxwell, who attends Ardenne High School in Kingston, Jamaica, said there were some words in the contest she could not spell, but she won because "God gave me the words that I knew."
Her teacher said Maxwell trained intensely for eight months before the bee.
Maxwell said the toughest part of the bee was the first word because it was the ice breaker. After that, she was not as nervous, she said.
Asked for advice to other students, she said, "Trust God, work hard and never lose sight of your goal."
Maxwell said she wants to be a corporate lawyer because she likes "to defend people, to push forth their rights." As the spelling champ, she wins $10,000 cash and a trophy.
The event had some drama toward the end when a 9-year-old newcomer, Allyson Lieberman, was returned to the competition after the staff discovered she hadn't misspelled her word after all.
She had made it through three rounds before being given "rescission," a word that means an act of canceling or annulling. About an hour later, officials called her back after it turned out that her spelling, "recision," was also a word with the same meaning that the official word-giver had handed her.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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