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Mayo stopped at spelling bee

Isabella Mayo, winner of the 20th-annual Downeast North Carolina Regional Spelling Bee in March, won’t win the Scripps National Spelling Bee this year.

Isabella, a student at P.S. Jones Middle School in Washington, was eliminated from the national contest Wednesday, but not before she correctly spelled the words given to her on the stage at the event in Washington, D.C. She correctly spelled “hafiz” and “Fahrenheit.” Isabel’s elimination came because she did not score enough points in the first three rounds to move on to the semi-final rounds held Thursday morning.

The champion was determined Thursday night, but not in time to make today’s Washington Daily News.

“Isabel didn’t make the final cut (50 of the 278 got to move on), but she is happy she spelled her on-stage words correctly. She has met some new friends and seen some familiar faces from last time,” wrote Christa Mayo, Isabella’s mother in an email sent to the Washington Daily News on Thursday. “She wants to get a photo with Dr. Bailey, the semi-famous pronouncer, and we will watch the rest of the bee (semi-finals and finals today/tonight) and attend the banquet Friday.”

Lori Anne Madison, a 6-year-old girl from Woodbridge, Va., was among the spellers at the national spelling bee. She’s the youngest speller on record at the event.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee’s first three rounds determine spellers who advance to the later rounds. In the first round, competitors take a written test. Scores from those tests are added to the competitors’ performances in the second and third rounds. Competitors earn bonus points in rounds two and three by correctly spelling words given to them to spell orally. A speller must earn 23 points by the end of the third round to advance.

It is the policy of the national spelling bee not to release scores of individual spellers.

PotashCorp-Aurora and the Washington Daily News sponsored the regional spelling bee, which Isabella also won in 2010.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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