Goshen Student Eliminated From National Bee Over 1970s Definition
Imagine making it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee and spelling every word correctly, but still being eliminated.
That's exactly what happened to Monroe-Woodbury 8th grader, Abhilash Patel. Thanks to a ridiculous vocabulary quiz, the Hudson Valley speller made his way to the national spelling bee only to come in fourth place.
In order to make the spelling bee move a little quicker this year, the competition instituted some new rules including a final "spell-off" and new vocabulary rounds. Many of the student spellers have dedicated their young lives to the competition. Finalists spend from four to six hours a day practicing Latin and Greek root words and obscure consonant combinations in order to successfully spell any word that's thrown at them. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean they know what all of those words actually mean.
Patel had already successfully spelled the words trompe l'oeil, juridical, gastaldo, bavette, coryza and sedile before being confronted with a vocabulary word in round nine. (Note: my auto-correct doesn't even know how to spell two of those words, underlining them in red)
During round nine of the finals, the Orange County eighth-grader was asked "Which of the following is most likely to be made from rattan?" He was given three multiple-choice answers. I began screaming at the television "CHAIR!" Anyone who was raised in the 1970s is familiar with rattan furniture. Those dated, wicker-looking chairs, tables and couches I grew up with were woven from the cane of the rattan palm tree. The famous peacock chair that Morticia Addams sat in on the Addams Family was rattan.
Of course, Patel was born after 2000 and has no knowledge of ugly 1970s furniture, so he answered "cake." Sadly, the incorrect answer eliminated the 14-year-old Hudson Valley speller, landing him in a tie for fourth place.