NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (CBS) — Students from schools in Tarzana, Diamond Bar and Huntington Beach correctly spelled their words in the second and third rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but they were all eliminated from the competition.

Nickan Fayyazi, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Portola Highly Gifted Magnet Center in Tarzana, spelled firth, a narrow inlet or arm of the sea. He then correctly spelled exequies, meaning funeral ceremonies.

Justin K. Chuang, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar, spelled Italianate, meaning Italian in quality, appearance or character. In the third round, he correctly spelled bobbejaan, a word for baboon.

Sam Nitz, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at The Pegasus School in Huntington Beach, spelled ullage, a noun meaning filling up to the brim, then nailed the spelling of anachronism.

The first round — a 50-word computer spelling test, with 25 words counting toward the scores — was held Tuesday, with each correct answer worth one point. The test scores were combined with the second- and third-round results to determine the 50 participants in Thursday’s semifinals, but none of the Southland students were included on the list.

Nickan said his best subject is math, his favorite sport is skiing, but he also enjoys snowboarding and tennis, speaks French and Farsi, aspires to be an engineer and has a cat named “Bijou”.

Justin has published a book, “The Marrksyrian War,” programs web pages, is vice president of his school’s journalism club, likes to draw, is first-chair cello in his school orchestra, speaks Chinese and aspires to a career in genetic engineering.

“He is truly a special kid,” Chaparral Middle School Principal Ron Thibodeaux said. “He’s a standout in so many different ways, from being a very strong musician to one of the best math students we’ve had in quite some time to being
a great speller. It’s a testament to his hard work and ability to really focus on things.”

Justin “has an expansive vocabulary” and reads a lot, Thibodeaux said.

Sam said he enjoys chemistry, gardening succulent and carnivorous plants and is involved in swimming and Boy Scouts.


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