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Corona student reaches finals of National Spelling Bee


Last updated 5/29/2019 at 6:58pm

CORONA - An eighth-grader from Corona advanced on Wednesday, May 29 to the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the fourth consecutive year.

Aisha Randhawa correctly spelled both of the words she was given Tuesday -- agua fresca, a beverage consisting of water and sugar with fruits, grains or seeds added for flavoring, in the second round, and redoubtable, an adjective meaning causing fear or alarm, in the third round at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.

Those spellings, combined with her scores on a spelling and vocabulary test, earned her a spot in the finals with 49 other spelling hopefuls.

Aisha and her 561 fellow competitors took a multiple-choice test with 12 spelling words and 14 vocabulary questions on Monday, part of the qualifying process to advance to Thursday's finals. The test is considered the bee's first round.

The finalists are determined by the test scores of the spellers who correctly spelled their third-round words. The finals are limited to a maximum of 50 spellers. Spellers' scores are plotted on a chart beginning at 36. Spellers at each consecutive scoring level are added until no more than 50 spellers are attained.

Spellers received one point for each of the 12 items correctly identified in the spelling portion of the test, one point for each of the 12 items correctly identified in the initial vocabulary section, three points for a correct answer to the lone item in the second vocabulary section, and three points for a correct answer to the lone item in the third vocabulary section.

Aisha is among seven spellers in the national bee making their fourth or fifth appearances. She tied for seventh in last year's bee, the fourth-highest past finish in the field.

Aisha was eliminated in the 11th round of last year's bee when she misspelled perduellion, a noun meaning treason, omitting the second L. She tied for 22nd place in the 2016 bee and tied for 35th in the 2017 bee.

This will be Aisha's final bee because it is limited to students in eighth grade or below. Contestants for the 92nd edition of the national bee ranged in age from 7 to 15.

The 13-year-old qualified for the national bee by winning the Riverside County Spelling Bee a record four consecutive times.

Aisha said she thoroughly enjoys "learning of all kinds'' and loves performing in the Auburndale Intermediate School jazz band, for which she plays the piano and alto saxophone. She said she has fun with her siblings and friends playing board games and exploring the outdoors.

The original field consisted of spellers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense schools in Europe.

Seven foreign nations were also represented -- the Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

The bee is intended "to inspire children to improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives,'' according to Paige Kimble, the bee's executive director and 1981 champion.


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