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Brown County eighth-grader Mary Skirvin in Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals this afternoon
Updated on: 05.30.13

Mary Skirvin, a Brown County eighth-grader, has qualified to compete in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals taking place this afternoon in Washington, D.C. The event will air from 2-5 p.m. on ESPN2.

Skirvin -- identified as speller no. 74 on the bee's Web site -- is one of 42 youngsters who made it through qualifying rounds in D.C. Wednesday.

The 281 contestants who made it to the national level completed a written test with vocabulary and spelling questions, then participated in two spelling rounds. Any misspelling in those two rounds resulted in immediate disqualification this year.

Skirvin correctly spelled “synchronous” and “telencephalon,” and her score on the written test qualified her for the semifinals, explained Mary’s mother, Dana, who is with her in D.C.

Skirvin earned her trip to the national event in February by winning the regional competition at Indiana University. She won the school-level contest at Brown County Junior High School before that.

“Mary’s just driven. She’s self-motivated, and this is something she really immersed herself in and was passionate about,” said Brad Baughman, who co-coaches Brown County Junior High School’s Spell Bowl Team with Kevin Roush.

To prepare for the bee, Skirvin has been hauling the official, 10.6-pound competition dictionary with her, her mother said. They also studied at home, working out a white board system with differently colored inks to help Skirvin remember words she’d spelled correctly, and those she needed to work on.

As a reward for reaching goals in her studies, Skirvin and her mom would watch episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in French.

Semifinalists took a second written qualifying test yesterday, and the scores on that, with this afternoon’s spelling rounds, will determine who moves on to tonight’s finals, set to air at 8 p.m. Though the number of students who move on can vary, it will be around 12.

-- Megan O'Bryan, Brown County Democrat

2:49 p.m. UPDATE: Skirvin was eliminated from the bee on the word "laureation," transposing the "i" and the "t."

This was her first time at the national bee.

Obituaries
See Full List »

Barbara Ann Frank Sheehan, 71, New Smyrna Beach, Florida
  Former resident of Brown County

Phillip Michael 'Mike' Mathis, 63, Nashville
  Brother of Cathy (Steve) Junken and Melanie (Darian) McBride, both of Nashville

Dorothy Louise (Tripp) Zimmerman, 84, Linton
  Former resident of Brown County

  • July 31
    Farmers market in Bean Blossom July 31
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, 11 State Road 45 at 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • July 31
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • July 31
    Live dulcimer music at history center
    2 to 4 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • July 31
    Fingerstyle guitar festival spans three days
    7 p.m. to Pine Room, 51 E. Chestnut St.
  • July 31
    'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • July 31
    Rotary Club food booth at county fair
    4 to 10 p.m. Brown County 4-H fairgrounds
  • July 31
    Wildflower walk at state park
    2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • July 31
    Dave Miller at sports bar
    8 to 10 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • July 31
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 1
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 1
    Free clothes, supplies for students Aug. 1 at intermediate school
    9 a.m to 1 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 School House Lane
  • August 1
    Rotary Club food booth at county fair
    4 to 10 p.m. Brown County 4-H fairgrounds
  • August 1
    Acoustic guitar festival hosted at Playhouse
    11 to 4 p.m., 7:30 to 10 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 1
    Live music at The Season's poolside
    6 to 9 p.m. The Seasons Lodge, 560 State Road 46 East
  • August 1
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • August 1
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 2
    CSVFD serves pancake breakfast
    7:30 to 11:30 a.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • August 2
    Guitar and performance workshops planned
    10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brown County Inn, 51 State Road 46 East
  • August 2
    Read to a dog at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 2
    'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 2
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • August 4
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 4
    Brown County Council
    2 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • August 4
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • August 4
    Time for inner peace set at local church
    5:30 to 7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 6
    Nashville Town Council
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 6
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 6
    'Jurassic World' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 7
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 7
    'Ghostbusters' at the Playhouse
    7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 7
    'Jurassic World' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 7
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 8
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 8
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • August 8
    Tribute to John Denver at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 8
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 8
    Donations accepted for Habitat garage sale
    9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Brown County 4-H fairgrounds
  • August 9
    'Jurassic World' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 10
    Beeline beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 11
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • August 11
    Time for inner peace set at local church
    5:30 to 7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 12
    BC Local Emergency Planning Committee
    9 a.m. EMS Building, 53 State Road 46 East
  • August 12
    Blood drive scheduled at Parkview church
    2 to 7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 12
    BC Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. EMS Building, 53 State Road 46 East
  • August 13
    BC photography club
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 15
    Rock & mineral club
    6 p.m. Extension Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 15
    TRIAD annual picnic at Parkview church
    11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 15
    Kingdom fest at Nashville church
    1 to 4 p.m. Nashville United Methodist Church, 36 S. Jefferson St.
  • August 18
    Time for inner peace set at local church
    5:30 to 7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 23
    Live Baby Boomer music at tavern
    7 to 9 p.m. Pine Room, 51 E. Chestnut St.
  • August 24
    American history DVD set to air at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 24
    American history DVD set to air at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 6
    Read to dogs at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 18
    BucCornEar Festival fundraiser returns
    4 to 8 p.m. JTFD, 4831 Helmsburg Road, Helmsburg
  • September 19
    BucCornEar Festival fundraiser returns
    8 a.m. to 8 p.m. JTFD, 4831 Helmsburg Road, Helmsburg