Arnie Parat wins Potter County Spelling Bee

·4 min read
Arnie Parat, a fourth-grader from Woodlands Elementary, was the last student standing as he won the Potter County Spelling Bee Thursday afternoon at George Washington Carver Elementary.
Arnie Parat, a fourth-grader from Woodlands Elementary, was the last student standing as he won the Potter County Spelling Bee Thursday afternoon at George Washington Carver Elementary.

On Thursday afternoon, Arnie Parat, a 9-year-old fourth-grader from Woodlands Elementary School, stood tall at the end of the competition at the Potter County Spelling Bee. With 46 competitors from local elementary and middle schools trying to lay claim to the title of best speller in Potter County, Parat, who wore the number 46, came out on top.

As the competition started with a practice round to give the students a feel for the contest, one could see the anxiety across the stage of those patiently awaiting their turn at the microphone. From the very beginning of the contest, Parat came across as very relaxed and confident as he came to the microphone, especially for his age. He did not misspell one word during the competition.

Contestants at the Potter County Spelling Bee look on awaiting next round of Potter County Spelling Bee Thursday.
Contestants at the Potter County Spelling Bee look on awaiting next round of Potter County Spelling Bee Thursday.
Contestants of the Potter County Spelling Bee await their turn at the microphone to show off their spelling prowess Thursday.
Contestants of the Potter County Spelling Bee await their turn at the microphone to show off their spelling prowess Thursday.

Students participating in the Potter County Spelling Bee all won their school spelling bees to qualify for the event. During the contest, students are given a word to spell; they are then given the word in a sentence to provide them with further context. At that point, they can ask for the definition, alternate pronunciation and for the word to be repeated. The contestant must have a clear idea of the word they are spelling to reduce the chance of a misheard word. Once the student starts spelling the word, he cannot take back an incorrect letter even if he has not finished the word.

Judges at the Potter County Spelling Bee look on as the competition winds down on Thursday at George Washington Carver Elementary.
Judges at the Potter County Spelling Bee look on as the competition winds down on Thursday at George Washington Carver Elementary.

Once the first round began, the first few students easily made it through the initial words. The historically misspelled word “potatato” eliminated the very first competitor. Other words such as "inform," "trivia" and "gimmick" soon reduced the field of the contest. In all, nine spellers were eliminated after the first round.

Arnie Parat  of Woodlands Elementary School and Finn Archer of De Zavala Middle School receive their ribbons for the Potter County Spelling Bee Thursday.
Arnie Parat of Woodlands Elementary School and Finn Archer of De Zavala Middle School receive their ribbons for the Potter County Spelling Bee Thursday.
The three finalists of the Potter County Spelling Bee look on as they await the next round of words Thursday afternoon.
The three finalists of the Potter County Spelling Bee look on as they await the next round of words Thursday afternoon.

Further thinning the competition’s second round left 21 students still standing with a chance to win the Potter County Spelling Bee. There were only a handful of spellers left on the platform within three rounds. Parat and Finn Archer of de Zavala Middle School continued to advance as the words seemed to get more complicated in spelling.

As the contests got down to three students, the word “comestibles” brought the spelling bee down to its final two opponents, Parat and Archer.

Runner up in the Potter County Spelling Bee Finn Archer of  De Zavala Middle School  correctly spells his word to move on to the next round of the competition Thursday.
Runner up in the Potter County Spelling Bee Finn Archer of De Zavala Middle School correctly spells his word to move on to the next round of the competition Thursday.
Potter County Spelling Bee Runner-up Finn Archer of De Zavala Middle School shows off his second place ribbon for his hard work Thursday.
Potter County Spelling Bee Runner-up Finn Archer of De Zavala Middle School shows off his second place ribbon for his hard work Thursday.

Archer misspelled the word "diaspora," which meant Parat had to spell two words correctly in a row to win the contest. He first spelled the word "onerous" with ease. The final word, "quiddity", which means the inherent nature or essence of someone or something, sealed the victory for Parat. He said that he was very prepared for the word from all the practice he received from his parents.

Parat said the word “ leguminous” almost tripped him up because he knew the word by its alternate pronunciation. He said that he knew the correct spelling once he was given the other pronunciation.

Altogether, Parat said he prepared for about a month for the contest and used the website Spell Pundit, along with the school spelling list and the book “Words of Champions” to hone his skills.

The 2022 Potter County Spelling Bee Champ Arnie Parat shows his spelling excellence to the crowd and judges Thursday at the annual competition.
The 2022 Potter County Spelling Bee Champ Arnie Parat shows his spelling excellence to the crowd and judges Thursday at the annual competition.

“My mom would make me revise my words list and then quiz me over and over while writing down the words I missed,” Parat said. "It feels so good to win; the practice really came into play for this competition."

Parat said he looks forward to moving on to the regionals.

“I am very proud of his hard work; he has always been a good reader and good with languages, so I thought he stood a good chance to do well,” his father, Sumesh Parat said. “His mother deserves a lot of credit for the help she gave him to prepare.”

“After he won his first school spelling bee, we knew we would have to do much more to prepare since he would be competing with older students in this contest,” said his mother, Smita Bhaskaran. “When he got to the word 'leguminous,' I was really concerned since he had to ask more questions about it. The word really caught us off guard with the pronunciation, but once he got that right, I felt confident he really knew the other words he was asked."

Dr. Steve Urban, the event host, spoke about how early on, you can tell the ones who are confident in their spelling and who are just guessing. It is crucial for the contestants to take their time and understand the word they are attempting to spell.

“It is very rare for a fourth-grader to excel like today’s winner; usually, it’s an eighth-grader," Urban said. “He is going to be a great speller in these events if he doesn’t lose interest.”

Dr. Steve Urban  host of the Potter County Spelling Bee looks on from the lectern Thursday after the competition.
Dr. Steve Urban host of the Potter County Spelling Bee looks on from the lectern Thursday after the competition.

This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Arnie Parat wins Potter County Spelling Bee

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