Local speller ready for break

By Tonya Garner: Freedom Newspapers

Lucas Donaldson says he is all spelled out.

The Zia Elementary student traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete in the 79th Scripps National Spelling Bee. Unfortunately, Lucas Donaldson was eliminated in the second round by the word “ronquil.”

Donaldson called the event nerve-racking and said he calmed himself during the contest by spelling his competitors words in his head.

“I tried to see how many of their (competitors) words I knew,” he said. “I was really nervous because I didn’t know what word I was going to get.”

Once he approached the microphone and was given the word “ronquil,” Lucas Donaldson said he didn’t recognize the word, which means a family of fish that live on the northwest coast of North America. Giving the word his best shot, he spelled the word “roncal,” which caused him to be eliminated. “I thought, oh man,” Donaldson said. “I was so bummed.”

Although he was eliminated early, Donaldson said he enjoyed sightseeing and meeting the other spellers.

“I got to meet the other kid from New Mexico,” he said. “It was really cool to meet people from all over.”

Les Donaldson, Lucas’ father, said he was extremely proud of his son.

“It was pretty tough to get into the deeper rounds,” Les Donaldson said. “I’m a doctor and they had words I had never even heard of.”

According to younger Donaldson, he plans to spend his summer traveling with his family and attending soccer camp.

“I’m not sure if I will compete in the spelling bee next year,” he said. “I think I want to do the geography bee instead.”

Katharine Close, an eighth-grader at the H.W. Mountz School in Spring Lake, N.J., won the national spelling title.

Donaldson won the Zia Elementary bee and correctly spelled “prerequisite” to triumph over 34 area spellers during the Regional Spelling Bee on March 11 at Clovis Community College.