‘Succussatory’ trips up Troy speller at national bee

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

The only Michiganian to advance to the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee was eliminated Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Divya Agarwal, an eighth-grader at Smith Middle School in Troy, was no match for the word “succussatory,” which is defined as up and down vibrations of short amplitude used to describe earthquakes, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

While the mistake of replacing the letter “u” with an “a” cost her the chance to stay in the competition, Smith principal Tim Fulcher was impressed with her placement.

“Divya is a fabulous young lady. When she was picked to advance, all of the students in her English class stacked dictionaries on her desk with her photo for good luck,” he said. “That just shows you that she is very well liked and respected by her peers. Finishing 14th is still a great accomplishment and we are all still rooting for Divya.”

The competition began with 284 spellers, including 11 from Michigan.

Among the words Divya spelled correctly were “echimyine,” “ipsedixitism” and “rissole”

Fulcher said Divya is no stranger to dominating spelling competitions as she won the school’s spelling bee all three years.

“To my knowledge, I have not known of a student to advance this far in the Scripps Spelling Bee or win all three grades at our school,” Fulcher said. “She is a very disciplined student and it shows.”


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