A 12-year-old from Corona correctly spelled both words she received and provided the right definition for a third word as the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee began Saturday on a virtual basis.

Lara Randhawa correctly spelled apocryphal in the first round. She chose the correct answer for “What is a platitude?” — a trite remark or insipid truism — in the second round.

Lara completed her spelling for the day by correctly spelling euryphagous — an adjective meaning feeding on a wide variety of foods — to advance to Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

All competition through the semifinals will be held on a virtual basis because of the coronavirus pandemic. The top 10-12 finalists will travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida for the finals, which will be held July 8.

The bee began with a field of 209 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense schools in Europe. Four foreign nations are also represented — the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana and Japan.

There were 71 spellers eliminated after misspelling their first-round word.

The bee is limited to students who were in eighth grade or lower on Aug. 31, 2020. Contestants range in age from 9 to 15 years old.

Lara qualified for the national bee by winning the Riverside County Spelling Bee, which was held on Zoom in March. She correctly spelled lavation — a noun meaning the process of washing — in the 19th round to beat out 20 other spellers.

Lara’s older sister Aisha was a four-time Riverside County Spelling Bee champion and tied for 15th in the 2019 national bee.

“I really enjoy learning how to use the roots, definitions and parts of speech of the different words to figure out how to spell words I’ve never heard before,” Lara said immediately after winning the county bee.

“My dad helped me practice a lot, I used spelling tools online, and my sister quizzed me too. I’m excited to make my family, my district and my county proud at the national bee.”

Lara completed the seventh grade at Auburndale Intermediate School in Corona this month. She is a mythologist and loves learning through stories and reading. She particularly enjoys Greek history including Greek myths such as Cassandra the Prophetess, Persephone, and Perseus and Medusa.

Lara’s favorite subject is history. She was part of a group presentation at the Corona-Norco Unified School District’s History Day in 2020 on the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, which set the age of marriage in India at 14 for girls and 18 for boys.

Lara’s favorite historical figure is Barbara McClintock, an American scientist and cytogeneticist awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Lara enjoys playing the violin and golf.

No speller from Riverside County has won the national bee.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.