Puerto Rican girl makes finals of U.S. National Spelling Bee

Julianna Canabal-Rodríguez, a 13-year-old seventh grader from Puerto Rico, was one of the finalists in the Scripps National Spelling Bee yesterday.  Unfortunately, she did not win, being eliminated when she misspelled “gyokuro” (a high-grade tea made in Japan) as “gyakuro.” Not bad, however, for someone from a Spanish-speaking island.

The eventual winner was Anamika Veeramani, an Indian-American eighth-grader. The 14-year-old girl from North Royalton, Ohio, won the 83rd bee, claiming the trophy and more than $40,000 in cash and prizes — some of which she says she intends to spend. She also became the third consecutive Indian-American bee champion. Indian-Americans comprise less than 1 percent of the U.S. population according to 2000 census data, but they have an impressive bee winning streak — taking the trophy in eight of the past 12 years.

Photo: Elizabeth Platz, 13, of Shelbina, Miss., left, and Julianna M. Canabal-Rodríguez, 13, of Puerto Rico, hug each other after being told they made it into the finals of the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, Friday, June 4, 2010. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP

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