When Elliott Husseman, an 8th-grader at Inspire Charter Schools, correctly spelled “voiturette” to win the 50th annual The San Diego Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee, most people in the audience had no idea what the French word meant.
But Elliott knew exactly how to spell the word thanks to a French friend who taught him the word for car, or “voiture,” during a recent visit. “Voiturette” means a small usually two-seater car.
The 14-year-old will now go on to represent San Diego County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md., in May.
“This wouldn’t be possible for me without the great support of my family,” said Elliott, who credited his mother, father, and uncle in his success.
The Poway student is homeschooled through Inspire Charter Schools and said he looks forward to spending the next few months studying for the national bee.
There were five students remaining in round five and after being the only one to spell a word correctly, Elliott came back to the stage for the final, winning word.
Following his win, the remaining four spellers competed to identify the alternate speller, who would compete at the national bee should Elliott be unable to attend.
Sixth-grade student Paul Macapinlac of Marshall Middle School won second place by correctly spelling “incumbency.”
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold was in attendance to wish the spellers well and called the event “a great reminder that spelling is important, even in a world where texting and tweeting is so popular.”
San Diego County has a history of making a strong showing at the national level. In 2012, the local winner Francis Parker School student Snigdha Nandipati, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and in 2005, Anurag Kashyap, a student from Poway, won the national competition.
The 50th annual The San Diego Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee was presented by San Diego County Credit Union in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education, 10News, and Southwest Airlines.