WOODLAND HILLS–Alex Pilibos Armenian School eighth-grader Amir Kasouha beat thirty-four other middle-school spelling champions on Saturday–March 14–at Taft High School in the Daily News Regional Spelling Bee.
Amir Kasouha outspelled second-time contestant Ryan Stoddard in the 14th round of competition–winning the prestigious award of a trip to Washington–in May for a shot at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
The 200 spectators watched closely as Kasouha correctly spelled the word "whirligig," which Stoddard–a Rosemont Middle School eight-grader–had just misspelled.
Stoddard–who was calm and confident throughout the event–asked–"What?" after the announcer pronounced the word. He leaned over to attempt to spell the word and chose "I-D-E" for the final three letters. The disqualification bell rang and Kasouha stepped up to the microphone. After correctly spelling the word–and placing the exclamation point with the correct spelling of "undulated," the audience roared into applause–and Kasouha’s supporters rushed to congratulate him.