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Chesterfield boy will try again to win National Spelling Bee

Rajiv Terigopula (photo from Spelling Bee website)
Rajiv Terigopula (photo from Spelling Bee website)


St. Louis, MO – Seven Missourians and 13 Illinoisans are among the youngsters competing in the National Spelling Bee, which gets underway today (Wed) in Washington.

Among them is Rajiv Tarigopula, from Chesterfield, who finished fourth last year. This will be Rajiv's fourth time in the bee, which features fourth through eighth graders.

In all, some 275 school children from around the country will compete (139 boys and 136 girls). Only five of them are competing in their fourth or fifth bee (including Tarigopula).

The winner gets $37,000 in cash and prizes, and the final rounds will be broadcast on national television (ABC).

Last year, Terigopula got $2,000 for his fourth place finish. The Sperreng Middle Schooler, then 12, spelled 12 words right - including mucedinaceous, arytenoid, and infundibular - before he put one too many L's in the word odylic in the 14th round.

Terigopula had finished in 48th and 16th places in his first two tries.

According to his biography on the Spelling Bee's website, Terigopula has been editor of Sperring's school newspaper and a member of his the Science Olympiad team. He also plays the violin, guitar, and keyboard.

Spelling bee contestants from Missouri and Illinois

MISSOURI (newspaper sponsor)
Chris Pennington (CassCounty Democrat Missourian)
Sidhant Misra (Columbia Daily Tribune)
Connor Spencer (The Examiner, Independence)
Katie Burke ( St. Joseph News-Press)
Rajiv Tarigopula (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Cody R. Patton (Sedalia Democrat)
Kyle Alford (Unite, Springfield)

Max F. Nelson (Bloomington Pantagraph)
Jane Huang (Chicago Tribune)
Theodore Yuan (Chicago Tribune)
William R. Erwin (Decatur Herald & Review)
Rachel Lynn Hendrickson (Dixon Telegraph)
Catherine Lindsey Green (Freeport Journal-Standard)
Alex L. Benjamin (Kankakee Daily Journal)
Bonny Jain (Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, Moline)
Delia Cai (Peoria Journal Star)
Brooke Wheeler (Quincy Herald-Whig)
Zahed A. Haseeb (Rockford Register Star)
Brendan M. Cavanagh (State Journal-Register, Springfield)
Erin Brittany Carney (Sterling Daily Gazette)