Corona Seventh Grader Advances to Third Round of National Spelling Bee

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

CORONA (CNS) – A seventh-grader from Corona advanced to the third round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Tuesday, following in the footsteps of his two older sisters.

Avijeet S. Randhawa correctly spelled cacaxte, a square wooden packing frame or crate that has four legs and a net cover and is carried on the back, especially by Guatemalan Indians with the help of a tumpline, according to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, the bee’s official dictionary.

The Auburndale Intermediate School student then correctly answered his multiple-choice word meaning question, “An osteopath is a type of:” correctly selecting medical practitioner.

The third round is scheduled to begin at 1:25 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Avijeet will be the eighth speller to compete.

The competition at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland is being streamed on, ION Plus and Bounce XL.

The quarterfinals and semifinals will be held Wednesday and the finals Thursday.

Avijeet qualified for the national bee by winning by the Riverside County bee, correctly spelling forbs, a plant species, as the final word.

Avijeet’s sister Aisha competed in the national bee from 2016-19, tying for seventh in the 2018 bee. His sister Lara was among 10 spellers tying for 13th in 2022 and reached the quarterfinals in 2021.

“Seeing how much my sisters learned motivated me” to compete in spelling bees, Avijeet told City News Service in an email interview. “It helps teach good study habits, handling stress and nerves and increases my writing skills and reading comprehension.”

Avijeet began his spelling bee career by finishing second behind Lara in the 2022 Corona-Norco Unified School District Bee.

Avijeet said his sisters “have been extremely helpful teaching me language patterns and roots and to stay in the moment using my process when spelling on stage.”

Avijeet said his goal is “to get as far as I can and if that’s winning, then great, but mainly it was to study words as much as I could over the past six weeks (since my regional bee) and that I feel good about.”

Avijeet said he prepared for the bee by studying “Words of the Champions,” the national bee’s official study resource, using the website SpellPundit and being quizzed by Lara.

Avijeet said Monday he has “been fighting a cold and had a fever” until Sunday.

The bee began with a field of 231 spellers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, the Bahamas, Germany and Ghana.

The winner will receive $50,000 from the Scripps National Spelling Bee, $2,500 and a reference library from the dictionary publisher Merriam- Webster and $400 in reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica and a three- year membership to Britannica Online Premium.

A speller from Riverside County has never won the bee.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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