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Sixth-Grader Wins Regional Spelling Bee

Scripps Regional Spelling Bee winner Hephzibah Sujoe

Photo: Amy Peterson

Girls dominated the last rounds of the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee at TCU on Wednesday, March 1. It was sixth-grader Hephzibah Sujoe who won first place in round 16, correctly spelling “tenebrism” – defined fittingly as a type of painting sometimes called dramatic illumination.

Sujoe will advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C. May 29-31 and received a $200 prize, TCU audit course opportunity, one-year subscription of Encyclopedia Britannica online and a $100 Samuel Louis Sugarman award. Her family is no stranger to the competition – her brother Ansun was named co-champion in 2014 nationals and arrived just in time to congratulate his sister. Both attend Bethesda Christian School in Fort Worth.

Eighth-grader Haley Wehr from Shackelford Junior High in Arlington took second place, winning $100.

This year’s competition moved quickly but proved as challenging and dramatic as recent years including “schadenfreude,” “einkorn,” “gymkhana” and “penumbra.”

Judges had to pause the proceedings to review the spelling of “improbable,” which ended in eliminating the last boy from the running.

Competitors won their area spelling bees for the chance at regionals, and students represented 24 areas and nearly 500 schools. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has hosted the competition for more than 30 years and the TCU College of Education has hosted the event since 2011.