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El Paso middle school student advances to Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals

El Paso Independent School District

Update: Arnav Tonde advanced to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Wednesday morning. In the fifth round he correctly identified the meaning of the word "travesty."

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Wiggs Middle School eight grader Arnav Tonde is representing the Borderland at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. this spring.

The El Paso Independent School District says Tonde took first place in the El Paso Regional Spelling Bee in March, beating out 33 competitors by correctly spelling the word "diatom."

Tonde came in second in 2021, and says he pleased to finally take home the top prize.

“It feels great, it feels amazing,” Tonde said. “I just feel so happy to have finally won after so long. I want to thank my parents for helping me so much, helping me practice, teaching me tricks for words, teaching me, really, the benefit of hard work.”

The district says Tonde also spelled a long string of other impressive words, including redingote, escritoire, linnet, zugzwang, Kuiper belt, dvandva, and microcosm.

Ahead of the national competition, Tonde says he is studying root words and language phonetics. “I just need to study the dictionary, really,” he said.

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Emma Hoggard


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