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Jackson County Spelling Bee stings last two finalists after running out of words

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A couple of young students stumped the judges on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 at the Jackson County Spelling Bee in Kansas City, Mo. As reported by The Kansas City Star, the two students vying to be the winner of the ticket to go to D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May, correctly spelling word after word that they were challenged with until officials ran out of words to present to them.

The Spelling Bee turned into mesmerizing admiration as the two finalists proved their amazing spelling abilities.

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 was set to be an exciting day for the 25 young students participating in the championship round of the Jackson County Spelling Bee at the Kansas City, Mo. Public Library’s Plaza Branch. The event began at 9 a.m. with officials giving words, provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, to each of the student competitors. Sophia Hoffman, a Highland Park Elementary School fifth-grader, and Kush Sharma, the Kansas City charter school, Frontier School of Innovation, seventh-grader were the two left to compete for the D.C. prize after 19 rounds.

Sophia and Kush wowed the spectators as they both continued to spell every word given to each of them. Officials, worried of exhausting all of the words they had left to give, spent their lunch break choosing another 20 words from the Merriam-Webster’s 11th Edition Dictionary to have on hand in case the predetermined National Spelling Bee words ran out. To the judges astonishment both students continued to spell the words tossed to them correctly, with the exception of one word that stumped both of them, leaving Sophia and Kush still in the competition against one another. By the end of round 66, for the first time in the Jackson County Spelling Bee, as reported in The Kansas City Star, a library outreach manager and co-coordinator of the spelling bee, Mary Olive Thompson stated "We ran out of words".

On March 8 Sophia and Kush will resume their battle for the win to get to compete in D.C. at the national competition. The two spelling phenoms are bracing themselves for even more difficult words to spell, since words could be given from the over 1,600 choices in the dictionary beyond just the 300 Scripps-approved list of words. In a world when most people live lifestyles that only depend on their computer's spell check, it is reassuring that there are youngsters still utilizing their own brains to properly understand the true spellings and definitions of words. Sophia and Kush have both proved themselves as winners in the word game going beyond the spell check knowledge that their own computers could compute.

Life is a never ending challenge worth competing in and learning from; never be afraid to dance!

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