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UMES spelling bee champ on a national stage

  • Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    Khaled Mohamed - 2013 M.E.S. spelling bee championPRINCESS ANNE, MD - (May 26, 2013) - Khaled Mohamed, winner of the inaugural Maryland Eastern Shore Spelling Bee, is in Washington, D.C. where this week he will vie to be recognized as the nation's top speller.

    The 13-year-old seventh-grader from Salisbury is among 281 elementary and middle school students participating in the 86th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee.

    Khaled, who attends Bennett Middle School, estimates he spent hundreds of hours over the past two months studying material that every competitor who qualifies for the national event receives.

    Before heading to Washington, Khaled expressed confidence he did everything possible to prepare for the competition, but he also said he was humbled to represent the Lower Shore.

    After preliminary rounds Tuesday and Wednesday - including a vocabulary test - no more than 50 of the 281 competitors will qualify for the semi-finals. The final round will air on ESPN Thursday night (May 30).

    The national spelling winner will receive a $30,000 cash prize from Scripps, a $2,500 savings bond from dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster and $2,000 worth of study materials from Encyclopedia Britannica.

    Khaled bested 46 other spellers from public and private schools in Somerset and Wicomico counties to win a local competition held March 9 at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

    UMES is one of 13 universities sponsoring competitors at the 2013 event, and the lone historically black institution.

    Scripps, the national sponsor, estimates 11 million students were competitors during the 2012-13 school year. Two "spellebrities," as Scripps calls its national bee participants, have participated in the event four previous times. Two competitors are siblings of previous winners.

    It took 13 rounds in 2012 and 723 words before a winner emerged. Snigdha Nandipati of San Diego spelled guetapens correctly.

    BILL ROBINSON, director, Office of Public Relations, (410) 621-2355