Friday, June 02, 2006



I admit it: I watched with fascination (and Kelly with some interest, I think) the live telecast of the final rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee last night on ABC.

The winner, of course, was Katherine "Kerry" Close of New Jersey.

But the St. Louis-area was well-represented by Rajiv Tarigopula, an 8th-grader in the regional Program for Exceptionally Gifted Children housed at Sperreng Middle School in South County's Lindbergh School District.

Rajiv - who lives in Chesterfield (next year he plans to attend Parkway West High School) and whose parents are both physicians - placed #4 in the national competition.

(His sponsor, the Post-Dispatch, has more.)

Placing #2 was Canadian 13-year-old Finola Hackett.

The commentators on this show are quite odd; perhaps even worse than those on the Olympics. But, it's still fun and nerve-wracking to watch.

I wasn't quite smart enough to make it into PEGS in my early elementary school days in Mehlville. My I.Q. is only 126. (145 is the minimum for PEGS.) ;-(

But when my parents applied for the regular gifted pull-out program in St Louis Public Schools, I got in! I was in the gifted classes at Mallinckrodt Elementary and Mason Middle through eighth grade.

Alas, my spelling career was ended in fourth grade at a four-school bee hosted by Mallinckrodt. I remember well the tension on the old stage in their rather cramped "assembly room." This was several years before the current gym with a big stage was built on part of the playground (thanks to the Capital Improvement Project approved in 1987; although the gym wasn't finished until after I left, probably in 1991. It should be noted that several schools that got gyms back then, have since been closed -- including, of course, Waring ABI which was sold to SLU and demolished and Stix ILC which was sold to WashU and demolished).

My losing word?


Of course, I transposed the i and the e, spelling frieght.

Sad, I know.

I remember the announcer was Huel Perkins, then anchorman at KSDK Channel 5; and nowadays at WJBK FOX 2 in Detroit.

I believe the winner was a girl named Mary from Flynn Park Elementary.

No comments: