Can You Spell S-T-A-R-T?

Bay Area well-represented in National Spelling Bee

Spell-check is not an option for the young, but very sharp minds gathered in Washington D.C. for the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week.

The contest kicked off Tuesday with a written test and contestents took to the stage Wednesday. California is well-represented in the bee, with 15 students vying for the title of top speller.

Rayma Auroprem is an 8th grader at Joaquin Miller Middle School in San Jose. Languages fascinate this 13-year-old, who's also fluent in Tamil and is learning French.

Representing the Bay Area as Speller No. 19, she is also teaching Tamil to kids in her neighborhood and loves to read Louisa May Alcott, "because of the way simple ideas and stories are beautified in her works."

Another youngster who will make you feel dumb is Caroline Bell, from Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School in Moraga. She's 14 and loves to play violin and sing. Caroline is No. 23 in the bee and says she loves animals and wants to be an architect, teacher or physician when she grows up.

Watch the Spelling Bee online at and maybe you should. We could all learn something from these hard-working young linguists.

On Thursday, semifinalists will compete onstage between 10 a.m.  and 1 p.m. Eastern time. One misspelled word will disqualify a speller.

Championship finalists will compete in the final round Thursday.

In 2007, home-schooled Danville resident Evan O'Dorney, who was 13  at the time, won the national spelling bee with the word "serrefine".

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