Jordan Broom wins the bee with ‘guarana'


Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 5:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 5:35 p.m.

After 10 rounds, it was down to just two students.

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Homeschooled student Jordan Broom won the Alachua County Public Schools Regional Spelling Bee at the Kirby-Smith Center on Wednesday.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun

Facts

Winning words

guarana: a dried paste that is made from the seeds of a South American climbing shrub (Paullinia cupana) of the soapberry family, that contains caffeine and tannin, and that is used as a stimulant.
rhabdoid: shaped like a rod

Source: Merriam-Webster

Seven rounds later, those same two girls were still at the front of the board room at the Kirby-Smith Center.

Jordan Broom spelled “scabrous” correctly. Amanda Stine missed the “h” in “rhabdoid.”

It was down to just one word: G-U-A-R-A-N-A.

And with that, Jordan Broom was the Alachua County regional spelling bee champion.

Jordan, a homeschooled fifth-grade student, said she loves to read, especially Nancy Drew books.



“When Mama and I were studying,” Jordan said, “I got a lot of the words wrong.”

Jordan, 10, said she will continue to study in preparation for next step -- the Times-Union Regional Spelling Bee on Feb. 18 in Jacksonville. She'll use the same practice sheets as before.

“I didn't think I'd get this far,” she said.

The regional winner will then compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., from May 27 to June 1. Last year, 14-year-old Sukanya Roy, an eighth-grade student from Pennsylvania, won the national championship by correctly spelling “cymotrichous.”

On Wednesday afternoon, 41 fifth- through eighth-grade students, along with their parents and teachers, filed into the room at Kirby-Smith. Kayla Camacho-Rivera, an eighth-grade student at Kanapaha Middle School, said she was more excited than anything.

“I studied with my counselor at school and my friends,” said Kayla, 14. “I was just kind of happy with everything.”

After each word she spelled correctly, Kayla danced her way back to her chair, eliciting laughter from the audience each time. She was eliminated when she misspelled “stipple.” Later, Kayla said she'd never heard the word before, so she wasn't upset.

Isa Carter, the secondary curriculum specialist in charge of language arts for Alachua County schools, organized the bee.

“I started my position in July, so this comes with the territory,” Carter said. “I definitely enjoyed it.”

For the first time in the bee's decades-long history, the winner and runner-up were awarded prizes at the end of the competition. Those included gift cards to Conestogas Restaurant, Kazbors Grille and Gator's Dockside and a gift bag from Barnes & Noble.

“We want to do everything we can to promote literacy,” Carter said.

Pierce Tabor, a homeschooled eighth-grade student, won the Alachua County regional spelling bee last year but was eliminated this year on the word “ultralight.”

“I went with a ‘y' because it was Greek,” Pierce, 13, said. “I'm going to look it up as soon as I get home.”

Pierce said that, while he wanted to win, he wasn't upset.

“I just did my best,” he said.

Amanda Stine, an eighth-grade student at Fort Clarke Middle School, was the runner-up behind Jordan.

“I was here in sixth grade, too, so I wasn't that nervous,” Amanda, 14, said. “My sister helped me study by reading the words, but she couldn't pronounce most of them.”

Her father, Ken, said Amanda did the best she could.

“She was so close,” he said.

Maggie Zawoy, a sixth-grade student at First Christian Academy, tripped over the word “ensemble” in the second round.

“I was pretty nervous,” Maggie, 11, said. “I think I studied all the wrong words.”

Maggie's mother, Holly, disagreed.

“She's always had trouble with French words,” she said.

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