You could say Heather desJardins-Park got stuck on the rim of a volcano.
In the fourth round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington on Wednesday, the Lime Kiln Middle School eighth-grader misspelled somma, meaning the rim of a volcano. She spelled it S-O-M-A.
"I kind of just guessed," she said.
By that time, Heather, who qualified for the national competition in March when she won the Howard County Library Spelling Bee, had survived a written multiple-choice exam, which contained such words as solmizate (to sing using syllables), retablo (a small oil painting) and ylem (a form of matter said to have existed before chemical elements).
In her first round of the spoken portion of bee, Heather had no problem correctly spelling fulcrum. In round two, she did not recognize the word nowanights, and she asked for the definition. When she learned that it was similar to nowadays, she correctly guessed the spelling, she said.
She competed against 106 other spellers in round three. Ninety-four, including Heather, survived to the fourth round. Fifty-nine advanced to yesterday afternoon's semifinals.
Though Heather is out of the competition, she and her family planed to stay through last night's championship round.
"It's kind of nice because I don't have to worry about studying any- more," she said. "I can just kind of watch."
Only youngsters in grades four through eight are eligible for the bee, so Heather cannot compete again. But she said she hopes to help her sister, Caroline, get to the national bee, Caroline, a fifth-grader at Fulton Elementary School, has won her school spelling bee twice to qualify for the county competition.