By ERIC BERNSEE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The 28th annual Scripps Howard Spelling Bee semifinals continued Thursday without nine-year-old Addison W. Hughes of Putnam County.
A South Putnam Central Elementary School fourth-grader, Hughes was one of 234 spellers eliminated Wednesday when the national contest cut the field of 275 competitors to 41 semifinalists.
Hughes correctly spelled his round-two word (prosciutto) and his round-three word (Nisei), thus posting a total score of 22 after getting 16 of the 25 correct on the first-round written test. However, only spellers with total scores of 29 or better made the semifinals.
So young Hughes, one of 13 Hoosier spellers to make the field after winning the rugged 18-round regional competition at Terre Haute in March, seemed to take it all in stride.
Regardless of the outcome, the Hughes family thoroughly enjoyed the five-day experience in Washington, D.C., which included a visit with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).
"Sen. Lugar took time out of his schedule to meet with us and a couple of other Hoosier bee families," Adam Hughes noted, "and that made quite an impression on Addison as well.
"The bee is very well run," the elder Hughes continued, "and they do a great job of making the spellers feel like stars, which they are, of course! Our own community has been wonderful to Addison in the run-up to D.C., too ... lots of folks have helped make this a great experience."
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion. Tens of thousands of schools and millions of students participate in the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee program. Spellers qualify to compete in the national contest by winning locally sponsored spelling bees in their home communities.