Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi

 

In an impressive display of linguistic prowess, 12-year-old Bruhat Soma of St. Petersburg, Florida, emerged victorious at this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, held on May 31, 2024. Mastering challenging words like “cricetine” and “indumentum,” Soma secured the championship after a nail-biting tiebreaker, correctly spelling the word “abseil.”

The seventh-grader’s win was celebrated with a burst of colorful confetti as the audience applauded his triumph. This victory marks his third appearance at the national level and culminates in a grand prize of $50,000 along with a championship trophy.

During the competition’s intense “Spell-off” tiebreaker—a recent addition in its second year—Soma outspelled his competitor by correctly spelling 29 words in 90 seconds. His formidable opponent, Faizan Zaki, also 12, from Dallas, Texas, took the second place.

In the earlier rounds of the competition, Soma demonstrated his broad lexical knowledge by correctly spelling words such as “coulisse” and naming the Dutch town of Hoofddorp. He also impressed the judges with his ability to provide accurate definitions for complex terms like “troglodyte” and “sine qua non.”

Speaking at a news conference after his win, a modest Soma said, “I never expected this.” He revealed that during the competition there was only one word he did not recognize, which, fortunately, did not fall on his turn to spell.

The U.S. spelling bee has been a pathway for exceptional young spellers since 1925, with children across the country participating in local, regional, and national levels hoping to reach the esteemed national contest. Soma’s victory not only highlights his spelling expertise but also his strategic acumen in mastering the nuances of the English language.

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