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Corona student is last Southern California youth standing at National Spelling Bee

Of four Southern California students who made it to the quarterfinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday, May 31, only one is still standing.

Avijeet Randhawa, a Corona resident who won the Riverside County Spelling Bee, is one of 56 spellers progressing to the last round of the quarterfinals at the contest in Maryland. Aaron Lim, of Orange County; Jupharnoor Singh, of San Bernardino County; and Justin Tran of Los Angeles County; have been eliminated.

Of the national bee’s original 231 contestants, 121 were left at the end of the Tuesday, May 31, preliminaries.

Another Southern California speller, fifth grader Phoebe Laguna from Granite Mountain Charter School in Lucerne Valley, incorrectly identified a word in the second round of the preliminaries on Tuesday. She tied for 140th place with the other contestants eliminated in that round.

As the Wednesday morning quarterfinals continue, here’s an update on the local contestants.

Aaron Lim

Lim, an eighth grader at El Rancho Charter School in Anaheim, was eliminated Wednesday after misspelling “ovination,” which Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as “introduction of sheep-pox virus locally into the body as formerly practiced to induce immunity or reduce the severity of the disease,” as “ovanation.”

Avijeet Randhawa

In the first round of the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Randhawa, a seventh grader from Auburndale Intermediate School in the Corona-Norco Unified School District, correctly spelled “chumble,” meaning to “gnaw” or “chew.”

In the next round, he correctly answered his word meaning question, “A gourmand is someone who enjoys: a fine dining experience.”

Randhawa must spell one more word correctly to get to the semifinals.

“I feel really proud of myself but also nervous for tomorrow,” Randhawa said in an email Tuesday night.

When asked if he plans to try to return for next year’s national bee, he said “Yes, absolutely!”

He credits his family’s support — two sisters previously spelled in the national bee — and spelling resources, including, as contributing factors to his success in spelling competitions.

Jupharnoor Singh

Singh incorrectly spelled “euclase,” which is “a mineral that consists of a brittle silicate of beryllium and aluminum in pale yellow, green, or blue prismatic crystals and is used especially as a gemstone,” as “euclaze,” eliminating him from the competition.

In an email Wednesday morning, Singh, an eighth grader at Heritage Intermediate School in the Etiwanda School District, said he feels “honored as well as challenged to be competing against the best of the best spellers from around the world.”

“It has been a dream come true to reach this stage,” he said, and thanked his teachers, principal, school district and the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools for making it possible.

Justin Tran

Tran, an eighth grader at Chaparral Middle School in the Walnut Valley Unified School District, was eliminated after incorrectly spelling “flong,” defined as “a sheet (as of several layers of tissue paper superposed on a sheet of heavier paper) used for making a stereotype matrix,” as “flaung.”

“My family has played a huge role in my spelling journey,” Tran said in an email Tuesday. “They help me study, cheer me on, and are always there when I need them. Without their continuous support, I doubt I would be here at Nationals today.”

What’s next

Lim, Singh and Tran tied for 74th place, alongside other contestants eliminated during that round of the quarterfinals.

With the bee limited to students in eighth grade or below, this was the final bee for Tran and Lim.

Randhawa will compete in the last round of the quarterfinals later Wednesday.

The semifinals and finals will be aired on ION on Wednesday, May 31, and Thursday, June 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. Each round can also be streamed on, ION Plus or Bounce XL.

Click here to watch or get more information.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Source: Orange County Register

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