Categorized | Education

Konawaena’s Nakamoto wins state Spelling Bee

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

Taggart Nakamoto, a Konawaena Middle School sixth grader, will represent Hawaii at the Scripps National Spelling Bee after winning the state competition Saturday in Honolulu.

Nakamoto, 12, won the 2012 Hawaii State Spelling Bee with the word “billabong” — a backwater caused by overflow from a river and forming a stagnant pool — during the contest’s 16th round.

Sixth grader Roland Afaga Jr., 11, of Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School, was first runner-up.

Nakamoto, son of Shan and Traci Nakamoto of Kealakekua, lists reading as his hobby and says he wants to become a forensic chemist or chemistry professor.

Two of his older brothers participated in previous state competitions. Teagan, 19, was a finalist in 2005 and 2006. Talmage, 16, was sixth in 2007 and advanced to the National Spelling Bee in 2008 and 2009.

Konawaena Middle School will display the koa bowl perpetual trophy for a year. Nakamoto also received an individual trophy.

The 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition is May 29-31 in Washington, D.C.

The live broadcast of the semifinals will air on ESPN2, and the final competition will air live on ESPN.

PBS Hawaii will show a rebroadcast of the Hawaii State Spelling Bee at 1 p.m. March 31.

The competition featured 14 finalists ranging from 9 years old to 14 years old. They represented Honolulu, Central Oahu, Leeward Oahu, Windward Oahu, Maui, Big Island and Kauai.

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