February 11, 2013
Paucity, a noun meaning "a small number of something," launched one Albemarle County middle schooler to the top of the school system's eighth-annual spelling bee.
Roshan George of Sutherland Middle School claimed the prize after the more than 90-minute spelling bee. He was among 21 of the county's top spellers taking part in the competition.
Former Albemarle High School Latin teacher David Larrick has served as the pronouncer for 20 years.
"It's just a lot of fun," he said. "That's the attitude I approach it. It doesn't mean you're a bad person if you can't spell a word. So it's just a fun game."
The judges listened carefully to each letter, as the parents watched with anticipation. Larrick said he prepared beforehand to make it easier on the kids.
"I run into words I've forgotten or don't know how to pronounce, but I'll review them, make sure I know them all," he said. "Review the definition, make sure I know all the definition words."
Larrick said his favorite words are "facetious" and "abstemious" because they have all five vowels in order.
At the end, the competition came down to Roshan George and Francesca Bernardino from Cale Elementary School.
After Francesca misspelled the word "gigantesque," Roshan had to spell "nuance" followed by the championship word, "paucity." He did both with little hesitation.
Roshan, Francesca and five other finalists will all compete in the regional spelling bee, which will take place at Monticello High School in March.