Triangle Day School seventh-grader Jason Sorin let out a heavy sigh of relief as he was crowned Regional Bee Champion on Saturday.
Sorin correctly spelled the word “afflatus,” meaning a divine creative impulse or inspiration, to earn the title for a second time. Jason won his first regional bee in 2017.
Spellers from all across Durham and Orange counties gathered at Riverside High school in Durham to contend for the Regional Bee title and a chance to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The competition lasted twelve rounds with fifty-eight champions representing area public, private, parochial and charter schools as well as home school associations. After round five, the remaining spellers were given words not included in their spelling bee study guides. Rounds seven and eight went by without a single elimination. The final round came down to Sorin and Lakewood Montessori Middle’s Andrew Sergison. Sergison placed in second after misspelling the word, “nimiety.”
This is the tenth year that the Office of Durham Affairs has sponsored the event. A high point of the competition was the remarkable sportsmanship between spellers during and after the bee. Several spellers, including Sergison, routinely congratulated their opponents with a high-five after each correct answer.
“Not only are these students remarkable spellers, they are also exemplary competitors. Their supportive and caring attitude embody the spirit of the spelling bee. This event is all about fostering personal and academic growth through friendly competition. We are proud of all of the spellers,” said Channa Pickett, senior program coordinator, Office of Durham Affairs.
Along with the title of Regional Bee Champion, Sorin won a trip to Washington D.C. with his family to compete in the national championship, a U.S. Mint Proof Set from the family of Samuel Louis Sugarman, and 1-year online memberships to both the Britannica Encyclopedia and Merriam-Webster Unabridged.
“I’ve studied a lot more and I’m hoping that I might be able to at least make the semi-finals this year,” said Sorin, already thinking ahead to the national competition.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place May 26 – 31. A detailed schedule will be publicized on the bee’s website beginning May 1.