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Port Lavaca student heads to national spelling bee

By Carolina Astrain
May 26, 2013 at 12:26 a.m.

National Spelling Bee CHAMPIONSHIP Prizes

• For the champion: A $30,000 cash prize and the Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy from Scripps, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a complete reference library from Merriam-Webster, $2,000 of reference works including the Britannica Global Edition, a 2013 Encyclopdia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD-ROM and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium from Encyclopdia Britannica.

• For spellers who only participate in the preliminaries: $100 VISA gift card

• For spellers who participated in the semifinals but not in the championship finals: $500 VISA gift card

• For spellers who misspell in the first round of the Championship Finals to seventh place: $1,500

• For speller who wins sixth place: $2,000

• For speller who wins fifth place: $2,500

• For speller who wins fourth place: $3,000

• For speller who wins third place: $7,500

• For speller who wins second place: $12,500

Source: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Port Lavaca resident Colton A. Blinka, 14, will soon be on his way to compete in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

The Travis Middle School eighth-grader will compete against 281 spellers from all over the country.

Colton will be accompanied by his father, mother, aunt and 10-year-old sister, Claire, who flew with the regional champion Sunday with plans to return next week.

The family will spend the extra time in the nation's capitol sight-seeing and learning about the nation's history through monuments said Deann Blinka, Colton's mother.

"We have been super excited for Sunday to get here," Blinka said. "The only person that isn't going is Colton's brother because he has to stay for football camp."

Eighteen of the national championship spellers, including Colton, are from Texas.

Colton defeated past regional champion Pauline Negrete, 14, of Edna, in the 31st round of the Regional Spelling Bee in March with the word "prevaricate."

Since winning the Regional Spelling Bee, Colton has been studying the words for Round 2 and Round 3 of the national competition. Colton said he has averaged about 14 hours of studying every week since winning the regional competition.

A new rule part of the national bee includes knowing the meaning behind some of the words the students will be spelling.

"It's because they don't just want kids to memorize the words, they also want them to know what they mean," Colton said. "Part of Round 1 has a test with 12 spelling words and their meanings, and it's multiple choice."

Colton's travel expenses, along with those of one chaperone, to the nation's capital is sponsored by the Victoria Advocate.

The competition begins Tuesday and is scheduled to end Thursday.

"It's so exciting because I've never been to Washington, D.C., before," Colton said. "It'll be fun with the whole family. I just wish my brother was going, too."



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