Isabel Jacobson Pictures

Thirteen-year-old Evan O'Dorney of Danville, California won the 80th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee on his 3rd trip to the finals. The home-schooled eighth-grader spelled 'serrefine' -- a noun describing small forceps. -- to become the last youngster standing at the 80th annual bee. He beat Nate Gartke of Spruce Grove, Alberta trying to become the first Canadian to win. Evan tied for 14th last year. He won $35,000 cash, plus a $5,000 scholarship, a $2,500 savings bond and a set of reference works. Evan's superstitions included eating fish before competition. He didn't do that this time because it wasn't on the menu of the Spelling Bee dinner. He practices spelling 1 hour a day and juggles while his mother asks him words. Evan's father, Michael, is a subway train operator in the San Francisco area. His mother, Jennifer, is in charge of Evan's schooling. Evan and Nate went head-to-head for three rounds, matching each other's correct spellings. Nate mispelled the medical word 'coryza' adding the letter 'h.' The day started with 59 spellers remaining from the 286 starting the competition Wednesday. The field narrowed to 15 finalists. Eight were gone after the initial round. Eventually five were left- Evan; Nate; 14-year-old Joseph Henares, of Avon, Connecticut; 13-year-old Prateek Kohli of Westbury, New York; and 14-year-old Isabel Jacobson of Madison, Wisconsin. - Washington, D.C., USA - Thursday 31st May 2007

Isabel Jacobson
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