Olivia Jacobs spells well in Scripps National Spelling Bee


Island spelling bee winner Olivia Jacobs held her own in competition with 274 spellers on June 1, at the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee preliminaries.

Olivia, a seventh-grade Tisbury School student, represented the Island at the national competition as the winner of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools spelling bee, March 18. She also won last year.

As speller number 112 in the national Bee, Olivia successfully spelled “corpuscle” in round two on Wednesday morning and “vinaigrette” in round three that afternoon. Videos of Olivia’s performance posted on YouTube are available here.

Olivia took a written test on Tuesday for round one of the Bee, in which spellers were asked to spell 25 words. Her score on those counted towards her preliminaries score.

There are no eliminations in rounds two and three. Instead, spellers earn three points for each word spelled correctly in those rounds, which also count towards their preliminaries scores.

Olivia did quite well on the written test, according to her dad, Gil Jacobs, as well as correctly spelling her words in rounds two and three. Despite her great performance, she was up against stiff competition and didn’t qualify for one of the 41 semifinalist spots.

Spellers whose preliminaries scores were higher than those of at least 225 other spellers were named semifinalists late Wednesday night.

Sukanya Roy, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from South Abington Township, Pa., took first place at the Bee finals on the evening of June 2. She correctly spelled “cymotrichous,” which means having wavy hair, in round 20. It was the winning word for Ms. Roy.

The Martha’s Vineyard Times sponsors the Island spelling bee annually and underwrites the cost of the trip to the national Bee for the champion and a chaperone. Olivia was accompanied by her parents, Gil and Wendy Jacobs, and her friend Casey McAndrews, who also is a seventh-grader at Tisbury School.