Friday, June 1, 2007

National Spelling Bee Winner - A Homeschooler!

While I am not surprised.... Major congratulations go to Evan O'Dorney, age 13, from Walnut Creek California. His winning word was serrefine, a noun describing small forceps. Evan's words are here. Apparently Evan is a talented mathematician and musician and he is a black belt in the martial arts as well.

2nd place went to Nate Gartke - from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was trying to become the first Canadian to win the bee.

And we can be "uber-proud" of Joseph Henares - a 14 year old homeschooler from Avon, CT. He made it to the semi-finals and tied for 3rd place - which was a major accomplishment as his first time in the bee. The Hartford Courant reports about it here. Here is Joseph's list of words. I know his mom Jean very well. Joseph and his family are just wonderful people. Spelling is not Joseph's only strength – he is a two-time state finalist in the Geography Bee, and he has participated in Math Counts, the American Math Competition and Odyssey of the Mind. Two years ago he was the winner on an episode of Jeopardy! during its “Back to School Week” tournament. I remember Joseph participating in an American Math Competition that I organized in CT a few years (or more) ago. Jean and John Henares... congratulations! We are all so proud of you and your family. Way to go! Also: The Filipinos in the state of CT, particularly the Philippine-American Association of Connecticut are very proud of you.

Congratulations also go to the Greater Woodbury Home Educators (GWHE) for helping to get Joseph started on his way! The leaders of that group do a phenomenal job with all of their activities!

These 15 kids did all incredibly well in the semi-finals. I am surprised to have seen that so many words were truly foreign language words which I guess are now considered part of the English language. It's also interesting that the top two slots went to an American homeschooler and a Canadian.

The spellers were competing for a trophy and $35,000 in cash, plus a $5,000 scholarship, a $2,500 savings bond and a set of reference works.

Bee results are here.