Jonathan Nativi at Spelling Bee
Seacrest seventh-grader anxious to get started.
Seacrest County Day School seventh-grader Jonathan Jude Nativi, 13, stayed cool when asked to spell “Fahrenheit.” But the sky seemed to fall when it came time to spell “upaithric” during Thursday’s 83rd Scripps National Spelling Bee.
It’s an obscure Greek-derived word that means “open to the sky.” Since it’s pronounced “you-PIE-thrick” it’s no surprise that Jonathan dropped the silent ‘a’ and rendered his spelling as u-p-i-t-h-r-i-c.
His mother, Arlinen Hernandez, wrapped his son in a big hug at the conclusion his part in the third round. “It was just one word. One word! You did great,” she said.
Nativi and Fernanda Arnay, Lee County’s representative, saw their run at the national competition end after two days.
But Jonathan seemed unfazed.
“It was all pretty cool,” he said as spellers from across the nation and around the world filed out of a conference room of Washington’s Grand Hyatt. “Obviously it’s more fun if you do good. But I did pretty good. Wherever I go, I’m happy to be where I’m at. And I’m just happy that I got this far.”
Fernanda Arnay, who attends Lee Acres Middle School, didn’t have enough points to qualify for the semifinals.
Fernanda, 14, finished the Bee with 21 points, 6 shy of the 27 needed to advance to the semifinals. Fernanda scored 15 out of 25 on the written test plus 6 points for the words she spelled on stage Thursday afternoon.
Out of 273 spellers, 48 will move to the next round to start this morning. The semifinals will be on ESPN, starting at 10 a.m. The finals will be televised on ABC from 8 to 10 tonight.
Earlier Thursday, Fernanda spelled both of her words correctly in the oral rounds. Fernanda had to spell c-u-m-u-l-a-t-i-v-e in Round 2, and s-p-r-i-n-g-e-r-l-e in Round 3.
Before the bee director called out the numbers identifying the semifinalists, Fernanda wasn’t quite certain if she had made it.
“I learned that I scored 15 out of 25 earlier, so I wasn’t too hopeful to make it to the next round, but I’m fine. I’m OK with it, I’m happy I made it this far,” Fernanda said.
However, Fernanda and Jonathan will not leave Washington empty-handed. Each participant who did not qualify for the next round will receive a commemorative watch, a cash prize of $100, a Webster’s Dictionary and a $100 savings bond.
Fernanda’s dad, Frank Meyer, said he was happy Fernanda made it this far, and wishes the other students the best of luck.
“I was waiting to hear her number being called, but I was calm the whole time. I think everyone did well,” Meyer said.
Jonathan said he plans to participate in the next national competition since he enjoyed the learning process necessary to become a nationally competitive speller.
“I learned that, in Greek, the ‘ka’ sound is usually spelled ‘ch’ and the ‘eye’ sound is usually a ‘y’. I also learned that in German, the ‘w” usually sounds like a ‘v.’ It was all interesting,” he said.
And Jonathan’s come to accept ‘upaithric.’
“I’ve never seen that word before,” he said with a shrug.
Local students Fernanda Arnay, from Varsity Lakes Middle School in Lehigh Acres, and Jonathan Nativi, the Collier County representative from Seacrest Country Day School, have failed to advance to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The top 50, of 273 contestants, advanced after two rounds and a test.
However, Jonathan Nativi,
The third round was not so charming for many contestants of the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. this afternoon.
Fernanda Arnay, from Varsity Lakes Middle School in Lehigh Acres, got through the third round correctly spelling 'springerle' -- which is a type of cookie that used anise oil.
However, Jonathan Nativi, the Collier County representative from Seacrest Country Day School, stumbled on the word 'upaithric.' He spelled the word 'upithric.'
Both contestants will have scores from a computerized test they took yesterday tallied with the two oral rounds today. The computerized test counts for up to 25 points. Contestants get three points for spelling words correctly during oral rounds.
Fernanda and Jonathan both spelled their words correctly this morning.
The top 50 of 273 contestants will enter the finals on Friday. Finalists will be announced at approximately 5:30 p.m.
No flash cards. No dictionaries. No spell check. No problem.
Local spelling bee contestants Jonathan Nativi and Fernanda Arnay breezed through round two of the preliminaries of the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.
Fernanda correctly spelled 'cumulative.' Jonathan was just getting warmed up with 'Fahrenheit.'
Jonathan, a seventh grader from Seacrest Country Day School, and Fernanda, from Varsity Lakes Middle School in Lehigh Acres, both competed along with 271 other word whizzes in round two, which began at 8 a.m.
Fernanda did not let her nerves get to her this morning when she correctly spelled her first word at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“I’m a little nervous, but I think I’m ready,” Fernanda said before heading to the stage.
After asking for the word to be repeated and for the definition, Fernanda spelled it with a smile on her face. Fernanda’s mom, Alison Meyer, was just as happy.
“I’m glad she got it right. It seems like most kids are doing well so far,” Meyer said.
Jonathan said his nerves weren't too bad this morning, which showed when he correctly spelled "Fahrenheit."
"I'm kind of used to getting in front of a crowd," he said.
His word was a little tricky, though.
"It's hard to remember where to put the 'h,'" he said, but he delivered the spelling with confidence.
It might help that Jonathan is always quizzing himself, even when having a conversation with someone.
"I can hear someone say something and I spell it in my head," he said.
Fernanda and Jonathan will head back on stage at 1:15 p.m. to compete in round three, which airs live on ESPN 3.
All 273 spellers will find out late Thursday if they have accumulated enough points to move to the semifinals Friday. No more than 50 will advance.
Judges add up a maximum 25 points from a written test spellers took Wednesday and three points for each correctly spelled word in the oral rounds.
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