CNN logo
US navbar

Infoseek/Big Yellow


Pathfinder/Warner Bros


Barnes and Noble






Main banner
rule

Excited Brooklyn girl wins National Spelling Bee with 'euonym'

May 29, 1997
Web posted at: 6:23 p.m. EDT (2223 GMT)

Sealfon

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A giddy and relieved Rebecca Sealfon carefully shouted each letter of the word "euonym" to win the 70th National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

The 13-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, said she knew she had won when she was given the word in the 22nd round. "Euonym" is a good name or appropriate name for a person, place or thing.


movie icon (1.3M/39 sec. Spelling bee
QuickTime movie)
VXtreme logo (VXtreme streaming video of
Spelling Bee
)

After the final word, Sealfon, in a burst of nervous energy, jumped up and down with her arms raised. She yelled "yay!" as they announced her name as the winner, and she balanced the trophy on her head for the cameras.

"I was incredibly lucky. I could have gotten out any round," Sealfon said graciously. Earlier, she was so nervous that she had to sit offstage for part of the contest.

Trivedi

"They shouldn't have the bee, even though I won," the 8th-grader said. "Many children are in grief because they lose, and everyone gets nervous."

Sealfon prevailed against 11-year-old Prem Murthy Trivedi, a 7th-grader from Howell, New Jersey.

He put an extra "l" in the word "cortile," meaning courtyard, and smiled to himself with amazement as he pondered the word he clearly was unfamiliar with.

The two finalists battled it out for five rounds as the only remaining contestants from the original field of 245. The day started with 116 finalists in the two-day show of spelling prowess.

Trophy

Sealfon, as the winner, receives $5,000 cash, a laptop computer, an encyclopedia and other gifts, not to mention a trophy and fame. Her family watched proudly from the audience.

Contestants ages 9 to 15 grappled with the difficult spellings as they stood before a crowd and television cameras in a large hotel ballroom.

Words like "banausic," meaning practical, and "loxocosm," a measuring device, took their toll on the numbers of contenders.

Some coped with the strain by using humor or by asking for the etymology of words -- a permissible request under the strict rules.

Alex Carter, 12, of South Charleston, West Virginia, did both -- asking first for the "etymology, please," then joking, "spelling, please." He got the word, "oneiric," which means relating to dreams, on his own.

Do you know how to spell ...
ratee-hab-ishun?
icon
AIFF or WAV
Confirmation or approbation, as of an act or contract
(210 K / 19 sec. audio)
kuh-loom-nee-ate?
icon
AIFF or WAV
To accuse falsely and maliciously of a crime or offense, or of something disreputable
(103 K / 10 sec. audio)
ahlee-go-frenik?
icon
AIFF or WAV
Of, relating to or exhibiting mental deficiency
(77 K / 7 sec. audio)

Another contestant, Brian Thomas McDermott, 13, of Riverside, New Jersey, could be seen briefly raising his hands in prayer. Others simply asked to be excused to go to the bathroom.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

rule
CNN Plus

Related stories:

Related site:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

rule
Message Boards

Sound off on our message boards

Tell us what you think!

You said it...
rule
To the top

© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.