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DEFINITION DOESN'T COUNT IN SPELLING BEE VICTORY

Feb. 22, 2002 – Winning the St. Thomas-St. John district 2002 Intermediate Spelling Bee on Friday was a proud accomplishment for All Saints Cathedral School student Elise Mike, even though she had to go through "mortification" to pull it off.
It took 17 rounds on the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School stage to separate Elise from second-place finisher Kristal Brin of the Moravian School. Kristal stunned onlookers with the correct spelling of "perpendicularly," then bowed out moments later over "chivalry."
Then it was Elise's turn. She won the round with a correct spelling of "debris," then nailed first place with "mortification," which means humiliation or embarrassment. The audience began applauding as the letters tumbled out.
It was a winning week for Elise. On Thursday she took fourth place in the annual MathCounts district competition.
Spelling Bee second runner-up Lideon Davis from Lockhart Elementary School narrowly dodged the bullet in the 10th round, when all three of the remaining contestants misspelled their words, but he stumbled a few minutes later over the "Thomism," which refers to beliefs based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Elise, Kristal and Lideon will lead the intermediate district team into the territorial competition against St. Croix's top spellers on March 20. Also representing St. Thomas-St. John will be Magen McGrath of Antilles School, Analise Setorie of Calvary Christian Academy and Ashton Phillip of Sts. Peter and Paul, who finished, respectively, in fourth, fifth and sixth place Friday.
The winners of the territorial contest will represent the Virgin Islands at the National Spelling Bee in Chicago.

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