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PRECOCIOUS SPELLERS COMPETE

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With a little bit of "surveillance" of the spelling list and favorable "vicissitudes," Jonathan D'Arc won Spelling Bee honors in the Alpine School District.

Ben Stokes, an eighth-grader at Farrer Middle School in Provo, spelled his way not only to the 1990 Provo School District title, but a record: Stokes also won the bee last year, marking the first time in the 14 years Provo has held spelling bees that there has been a repeat winner. Stokes' winning words: "governor" and "separate."Leif Olsen, however, ventured into the plant kingdom and rustic construction techniques to win Nebo School District's spelling bee with "jacal" and "oxylophyte."

D'Arc, an eighth-grader at Canyon View Junior High School in Orem; Olsen, an eighth-grader at Spanish Fork Intermediate School; and Stokes will advance to the state Spelling Bee March 30 at Bryant Intermediate School in Salt Lake City.

Nebo's Olsen won the bid by outspelling Spanish Fork Intermediate eighth-grader Mary Ann Clayson, last year's district winner.

D'Arc, of Alpine, defeated Bethany Beyer, a sixth-grader at Cherry Hill Elementary in Orem. Stokes beat Mathew Morrise, a sixth-grader at Sunset View Elementary in Provo.

"We're extremely pleased with the quantity and quality of the participation in this year's spelling bee," said Alpine program coordinator Melinda Sherrell.

All 15 spelling bee participants in the Provo District lasted through four rounds of words - including such ticklers as precocious, embarrass, entourage and semanticist - before encountering the toughies.

The state champion will compete in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in June.