A seventh-grader from San Diego's Francis Parker School stumbled on the word "kerystic" and was eliminated Thursday from the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md.
Snigdha Nandipati was one of the 41 semifinalists from an original field of 275. She advanced to the semifinals thanks to the combination of her score on a 25-word written test taken Tuesday and correctly spelling "avifauna" -- meaning birds from a specified region -- and "masala" -- a blend of Indian spices and herbs -- during Wednesday's second and third rounds.
In the fourth round Thursday, she correctly spelled "meridienne," a French term for a type of sofa. But in the fifth round, she misspelled "kerystic," an adjective that means pertaining to preaching.
The winner of the bee will receive $30,000 from Scripps, which owns television stations and newspapers, a $5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, and reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica valued at $2,600 and a lifetime membership to Britannica Online Premium and a Nook eReader and online course from K12 Inc.
The bee is limited to students in eighth grade or below, with this year's original field of contestants ranging in age from 8 to 15 and from third through eighth grades.
Southern California has produced only one champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which began in 1925 -- Anurag Kashyap of Poway, the 2005 winner.
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