Farragut Middle School’s Spelling Bee began at 10:15 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24, with 29 classroom champs who battled it out for the top spot.
Fourteen rounds and 90 minutes later, seventh-grader Emma Tarditi emerged the victor following a hard-fought battle.
While early rounds consisted of relatively easy words, they became harder fairly quickly. “Commissary,” “delicatessen,” “accolade,” “quadruped,” “grandiose,” and “posthumous” were among the words of increasing difficulty, while “boroughs” and “muesli” tripped up two spellers in the latter rounds. [Most of these words required spell-check help for this reporter].
Near the end, the final group of five spellers was called back several times, as no one could correctly spell the words that would cinch the deal.
For several rounds, Jacob Nieman, who ended up being the Bee’s runner-up, seemed to literally be the last man standing through the final few rounds.
In the end Emma correctly spelled “antonym” to win the title, and was visibly surprised, then elated at the news.
She said she had participated in the school spelling bees in previous years, “but never got this far before.”
Emma is the daughter of Lovely Krishen and Alfonso Tarditi, and she will be participating in the Appalachian Regional Spelling Bee on March 8 on the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus.
Jacob, who is an eighth-grader, is the son of Matt and Jenni Nieman, and will go to the Regional Bee if Emma is unable to attend.