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Friday, 1 June, 2001, 00:56 GMT 01:56 UK
Home-schooled boy is champion speller
Sean Conley, 13, and his parents after his spelling victory
Sean takes home $10,000 for being the top US speller
Sean Conley, a 13-year-old from Minnesota who taught himself to read when he was two, has won America's National Spelling Bee.

He correctly spelled the word "succedaneum" in the 16th round of the competition, earning himself $10,000.

Runner-up Kristin Hawkins, also 13, misspelled "resipiscence" - a change of mind or heart - and takes home $5,000 for coming in second.

Sean credited his victory to his years of home schooling.


succedaneum:
a substitute, especially for a medicine or drug

Sean Conley's winning word
"I was really lucky to have home-schooled all this time because I had enough time to practice for the spelling bee instead of having to do a lot of other work that wasn't necessarily stuff I wanted to learn about or that was exactly at my level," he said.

Sean is now enrolled at the Minnesota Renaissance School, and said that he had lost practice time as a result.

"I didn't study as hard as I did last year since I was going to school," he said.

Inseculent struggle

Sean placed second at last year's Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee.

He correctly spelled such words as "gallimaufry", "schadenfreude", and "zarzuela", and struggled through "inseculent", spelling the word in the air with his finger before doing it aloud.

Sean, who wants to be a computer programmer, has written two video games.

His father is a software engineer and his mother is a home school educator.

He defeated 247 other contestants to win the 74th national spelling contest.

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See also:

02 Jun 00 | Education
Spelling champ steals a 'demarche'
17 Jan 01 | Education
Children's spelling difficulties
20 Dec 00 | Education
Computers 'boost boys' spelling'
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