13-year-old spells 'guerdon' to win bee

May 30, 2008 7:41:00 PM PDT
As it turned out, Sameer Mishra provided more than just comic relief at the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee. He ended up winning the title. The 13-year-old from West Lafayette, Ind., who often had the audience laughing with his one-line commentaries was all business when he aced "guerdon" - a word that appropriately means "something that one has earned or gained" - to win the 81st version of the bee Friday night.

"I don't know about comedy lines, but my parents have been telling me since the beginning that I should always stay calm, cool and collected," said Sameer, who likes playing the violin and video games, and hopes one day to be a neurosurgeon.

Sameer, appearing in the bee for the fourth time and a top 20 finisher the last two years, clenched both fists and put his hands to his face after spelling the winning word. He won a tense duel over first-time participant Sidharth Chand, 12, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who finally stumbled on "prosopopoeia," a word describing a type of figure of speech.

For placing first, Sameer will receive $35,000 in cash plus more than $5,000 in other prizes.

Load Comments