When I turned on my computer this morning, one of the news items was:
Guerdon. Noun. Spelling Bee Victory
Friday, May. 30, 2008 By AP/JOSEPH WHITE (WASHINGTON) — As it turned out, Sameer Mishra provided more than just comic relief at the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee. He ended up winning the title.
The 13-year-old from West Lafayette, Ind., who often had the audience laughing with his one-line commentaries was all business when he aced "guerdon" — a word that appropriately means "something that one has earned or gained" — to win the 81st version of the bee Friday night.
"I don’t know about comedy lines, but my parents have been telling me since the beginning that I should always stay calm, cool and collected," said Sameer, who likes playing the violin and video games, and hopes one day to be a neurosurgeon.
Sameer, appearing in the bee for the fourth time and a top 20 finisher the last two years, clenched both fists and put his hands to his face after spelling the winning word. He won a tense duel over first-time participant Sidharth Chand, 12, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who finally stumbled on "prosopopoeia," a word describing a type of figure of speech.
For placing first, Sameer will receive $35,000 in cash plus more than $5,000 in other prizes.
Because homeschooled students have done so well in the national spelling bee in recent years (as opposed to Subway-Scholastic essay contests–OK, I know that Subway and Scholastic have apologized and said that they would do better, but I still think the fact that their contest specifically said "No Homeschoolers" shows a latent educational prejudice against homeschoolers which lingers in our society), I was curious as to the educational background of Sameer. Since none of the news items I checked specifically said that he was homeschooled, I began to assume that he probably was not, and then I came across the following note from Learning at Home that was posted on HomeSchoolBuzz.com:
May 30th, 2008, 10:21 pm posted by learningathome
A lot of people joke about homeschoolers winning all the spelling bees. This year, it went to a public schooler. The winning word was guerdon. I ended up catching the last few rounds on TV. I didn’t think we’d get it with our reception. It was interesting to watch.
I agree. Whoever the national spelling bee winner is, he or she is worthy of our congratulations.