story about my 2nd cousin Tracey Hinder, my mom's cousin's
daughter. Tracey is an amazing youngster with an extraordinary
aptitude for learning and meeting challenges…
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West Vancouver student Tracey Hinder emerged as the apotheosis of
cool under pressure Sunday, winning the CanWest CanSpell regional
spelling bee, after the capitulation of Delta student Nicaela Weigel in
the event's closing spell-off.
Hinder, a 13-year-old Grade 8
student at West Vancouver Secondary, spelled 'capitulation' correctly
and then won by nailing the word apotheosis at the Vancouver Sun
provincial final held at the Stanley Theatre.
“I studied so many
words, but I think I did study 'apotheosis' once,” Hinder said
afterwards. “I also studied 'capitulation' on Saturday.”
victory was a dramatic ending to four hours of extreme spelling that
began with 50 competitors from schools around B.C., except for
The words given by pronouncer Kirk LaPointe,
managing editor of The Vancouver Sun, became progressively more
difficult during the contest as the number of competitors dwindled to
the final two.
Some of the students held the microphone
confidently, and easily recalled the right letters. Others spelled the
words slowly and with trepidation, clearly hoping that their letters
would match the pronunciation of a word they couldn't totally remember.
Some looked at the three-member panel of judges with surprise when the
bell that signals a mistake did not ring.
Both Hinder and
runner-up Weigel will be competing in the CanWest CanSpell National
Spelling Bee in Ottawa on April 16 for the first-place prize of a
$10,000 educational fund and their name etched on the CanWest CanSpell
And Hinder will be one of 11 regional winners across Canada
who will compete later in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in
Tristan Brett, from Eugene Reimer middle school
in Abbotsford, looked strong throughout the event, but finished third
after being hit with the arcane word prosody, which means the study of
the metrical structure of verse.
Runner-up Weigel said she was
happy to have finished second against a field of mostly older
competitors. She had studied the fatal word capitulation, but her
memory failed her.
“Nicaela never spelled that word
[capitulation] wrong before,” said her mother, Marie Weigel. “But
that's all right. Ottawa is good.
“When it got down to the two
competitors, I could see her nerves getting to her. But good for her,
she's 11. She can compete in this for two more years.”
Weigel is no stranger to success. Last year, Nicaela and her twin
sister, Shelbie, played the same character in a TV movie The Five
People You Meet In Heaven, based on the novel of the same name by Mitch
Todd Weigel said he thought his daughter would do well:
“What can I say: I'm an extremely proud father. I'm holding back the
“But she's an overachiever. I thought she would get pretty far. But all the sisters, they really drive each other.”
memory and hard work were the key factors, luck played a role too. As
in any spelling bee, some words were tougher than others.
The young spellers also had to keep their composure while four TV cameras moved around covering every moment.
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“You have to sort of pretend there is no camera there. It makes it
easier for you to spell,” said Rachel Davidson of Collingwood School in
West Vancouver, who fell out in the third round.
A few of the
participants were visibly crestfallen when they mis-spelled a word and
found themselves walking off the stage. They were quickly ushered
downstairs into a makeshift comfort room where they were offered
solace, along with drinks and snacks.
“Oh, I'm so stupid. I don't
know how I missed that,” lamented Oliver Telfor to a volunteer
comforter, who assured the West Sechelt Elementary student that he
As Telfor explained how he knew he had erred even
before completing his word, another one of the fallen, Tori Caswell of
Pacific Academy in Surrey, arrived and shouted: “I screwed up on jerkin
“But this is just for fun. And I like reading, so I got extra reading privileges.”
Dodds, of Vancouver, was angry with his abrupt exit late in the
competition. “I'm disappointed and surprised. I'm feeling mad at
Tears welled in the eyes of Brandon Sanderson, a
precocious 10-year-old from Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Vancouver who
had a smile all afternoon until after his last word.
admitted later that he had guessed his way through at least one other
word, so he was pleased to have made it to round five.
“Hopefully, I'll get this far again next year,” he said.
Sunday's winning word:
Some other tough ones from the competition:
Ran with fact box “Challenging…”, which has been appended
to the end of the story.