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Veteran spelling bee contestant on his way to D.C. for national contest

Lauren Abdel-Razzaq


Detroit - With the correct spelling of the word "temblor," 8th grader James Sun became the Detroit News 2013 Spelling Bee champion Saturday.
"Originally, I thought he said templar, but then I heard the definition and how it was of Spanish origin and I was like, glad I took Spanish as a foreign language," said Sun, a 13-year-old who attends Achieve Charter Academy in Canton.
That word will be Sun's ticket to Washington D.C. where he will represent the region in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Sun is a veteran in the competition having been here twice before.
"Every single time I'd make it past the break," he said in reference to the 10-minute rest competitors received after reaching the final stages. "But then I'd get those words wrong."
Beginning with 34 students, just 18 were left standing after the first round of competition. Some of the words that tripped up the young competitors: "babushka," "megalopolis," "hacienda," "patriarch," "kudzu," and "colloquial."
Coming in second place was Adaeze Izuegbunam, a 5th grader from Canton Charter Academy. In the final round, the 10-year old spelled the word, "italicization" correct before misspelling "ethanol," the word which would have secured her victory.
Izuegbunam was happy with how far she went.
"My goal was to get to the top 10," she said. "I was really scared I was going to get out on my first word."
Because of her age, Izuegbunam will have three more opportunities to compete in the bee, which is for 5th through 8th graders throughout Metro Detroit.
Her parents said they were happy for their daughter.
"We hope she comes back next year," said her mother Chioma.
Added her father Emeka, "I am very, very proud of her. She is awesome. She is great."
About 200 spectators came to watch relatives compete at the event and saw Sun earn a place in the national bee in May. He also won several prizes including a one-year membership to Britannica Online Premium and an unabridged copy of Webster's Third New International Dictionary. In addition, he received a trophy which will grace his school for the next year
"I thought the contestants from beginning to end showed so much poise and self confidence," said Detroit News Editor and Publisher Jon Wolman. "The two finalists in particular had such a great command of the words. I know they were both nervous but you couldn't tell it to watch them."
The Detroit News spelling bee dates to February 1922, when the paper held a final "Spelldown" at the Majestic Theatre on Woodward.
Detroiter Justine Pearsall won for correctly spelling "Hawaii" after her competitor failed to use capitalization.

From The Detroit News:

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