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Friday, 2 June, 2000, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Spelling champ steals a 'demarche'
George Thampy
George Thampy didn't stumble with spelling "ditokous"
"Demarche", meaning a political step or initiative, won a 12-year-old a first prize of $10,000 in a spelling competition in the United States.

Spelling the word correctly meant that George Thampy from Marylands Heights, Missouri, became the National Spelling Bee champion, in a competition that has been running since the 1930s.

Spelling
The annual national spelling contest stretched over two days
In the final round of a two-day contest, three youngsters, all taught at home by their parents, competed to become the best speller of the year - based on the 400,000 words in the competition dictionary.

Attributing his success to his parents' teaching, the winner said that being taught at home gave him the flexibility to do what he wanted - "like Latin".

Second placed Sean Conley, aged 12, collected the $5,000 runner's up prize, after he mis-spelt the word "apotropaic' (which means designed to avert evil).

The word "venire" (recruiting qualified jurors) eliminated the third placed contestant, Alison Miller, a 14-year-old from Newark.

The champion speller had successfully negotiated the following words:

fondu
waiver
serendipity
ersatz
surfactant
vesicant
emmetropia
annelid
trophobiosis
psilosis
quodlibet
eudaemonic
ditokous
propaedeutic
demarche

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See also:

12 Jul 99 | Education
Boys are better spellers than girls
13 Dec 99 | Education
Spelling out school improvement
28 Jan 00 | Education
Shame over spelling blunder
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