Port Lavaca student heads to national spelling bee

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

May 26, 2013 at 12:26 a.m.

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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