I must admit to a kind of begrudging admiration for kids competing in the high-stakes game of spelling bees.
I mean, I make what passes for a living in a Third Word country from using words, but these kids know letter construction cold. I hobble along with the crutch of spell check.
It takes a vast knowledge of etymology, linguistics, and lexicography to participate in a spelling bee. That and a little acquiescence to stage-parents, a superior intelligence, and a desire to excel.
Three area kids now vie for the Queen or King Bee throne in the Scripps National Spelling Bee -- Andrea Mae Mirasol, a seventh-grader at Vernon Middle School in Vernon; Chetan G. Reddy, a fifth-grader at Andrews Elementary School in Plano, and; Mark Brioso de los Santos, a sixth-grader at Holy Rosary Catholic School in Arlington.
So, how talented and active are these students?
Andrea, according to her profile on the spelling bee website, participated in the National Piano-Playing Auditions, and became a national member as certified by the American College of Musicians. She also won the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and competed in the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee as a fourth-grader. A fourth-grader.
Chetan plays regular kids sports such as football, basketball, and cricket, and plays a mean game of chess if anyone needs a board mate. He wails on a couple of musical instruments -- piano and clarinet -- and speaks Telugu. OK, seriously, without looking it up, Telugu is the native language of … what? Yeah, I had no idea, either.
As for 11-year-old-Mark, he snagged the President’s Award for Educational Excellence, so, wow. He’s also a university talent search participant, which means -- what, is he searching for students with university-level talent or is he among students with university-level talent?
I’m not smart enough to know.