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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 »

Jerry Depew Sr., 67, Nashville
  Husband of Phyllis Depew of Nashville

Millard Thompson, 90, Brown County
  Husband of Linda Lou (Scott) Thompson of Nineveh

Janice Mae (Rockwood) Burrier, 68, Brown County
  Member of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Nashville

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  • August 12
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  • August 13
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  • August 14
    Gospel jam session
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  • August 14
    Go Club at the library
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  • August 15
    Bingo
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  • August 15
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 15
    Live band at winery
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  • August 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 16
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 16
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 17
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  • August 18
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  • August 19
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 21
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • August 21
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 22
    Live music at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 22
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 22
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 22
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    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 23
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 23
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    9:30 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 23
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 23
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 26
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 26
    Widowed group euchre party
    1 to 4 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 29
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 30
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    4:30 to 8 p.m. Wagler Dairy, 7085 Homestead Road
  • August 30
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 13
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    5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Nashville
  • September 13
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    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road