Monday, April 1, 2013

A Top Speller

Eight-year-old Emily Madaras, a fourth-grader at Wilchester Elementary, won the heart of the audience if not the top award itself during the 2013 Houston PBS Spelling Bee, broadcast live March 23 from the station’s University of Houston studio.

Emily, who was Spring Branch ISD’s Spelling Bee winner this year, was the youngest of the final seven students left standing when she slightly misspelled “noctilucous,” losing her place in competition.

Her difficult word was a term for “shining at night.” The Houston Chronicle, in its report on the Bee, said that Emily was “the biggest crowd pleaser of the night,” and a “fan favorite.” Her mom, Karen Madaras, reports that Emily won eyes, ears and hearts – and big bursts of applause – every time she walked up to the microphone.

“Her dream is to go to nationals. She has a gift for spelling,” Mrs. Madaras said. Before her misspelling, Emily correctly spelled “vicarious,” “wedel,” “tattersall” and “soilure.” Her only chance to memorize words ahead of time came in the first round, when all students in the competition had a chance to recall the correct spelling of 1,500 words.

After that, each new word could be any of tens of thousands of possible English language words. “She has had a natural ability since age 2 to spell words,” Mrs. Madaras said. “She spells faster than I can process what she’s saying so it makes it really hard to practice with her.”

“I just always wanted to go to nationals,” Emily told the Chronicle after the Spelling Bee.

For the first time, PBS will send two finalists as co-champions to the nation’s capital to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Students sharing this honor are Shobha Dasari, a 12-year-old from Pearland ISD, and Syamantak Pyra, 11, from Clear Creek ISD.

The National Spelling Bee awards more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.

To read the full Houston Chronicle article, please visit:


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