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Bayside Hills 7th grader takes third in spelling bee

TimesLedger Newspapers

A Bayside Hills seventh-grader placed third for the second year in a row last week in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Falling victim to the word “schwannoma,” Arvind Mahankali, 12, ended the national spelling tournament in third place for the second time in an attempt to be crowned the best speller. Though he did not come out as champion, Mahankali said he still planned on returning to the event next year.

The seventh-grader at MS 74 Nathaniel Hawthorne, at 61-15 Oceania St. in Oakland Gardens, spelled out “schvonoma” before being eliminated.

Schwannoma is a tumor of the peripheral nerve.

Dennis Walcott, the city schools chancellor, visited the Bayside school Monday morning to congratulate Mahankali for his success in the tournament.

City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio took to Twitter to congratulate the young Queens contender, adding that his success in the competition made New York City proud.

The first place trophy went to 14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati of San Diego, Calif., after she spelled the French word “guetapens” for the championship. Guetapens is an ambush.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the country’s largest and longest-running event of its kind, sponsored by the E.W. Scripps Co. as well as local sponsors throughout the world.

Students practice through materials provided by the spelling bee and advance to the national event near Washington, D.C., by winning a series of spelling contests as outlined by their local spelling bee sponsors.

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