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Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 7, 2018
‘Doublet’ knocks out homeschooler at national bee

Representing Maine

Colin Aponte represents Maine at the National Spelling Bee.

Photo courtesy of Louise Aponte

by Monique Labbe

Thirteen-year-old Colin Aponte stepped up to the microphone, just one word between him and a potential fourth round spot in the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“Doublet,” said the moderator.

“Doublet,” repeated Aponte, before asking for the language of origin, the definition and for the use of the word in a sentence.

After a brief pause to think, Aponte took a breath and began to spell the word; d-u-b-l-e-t.

The bell rang to indicate a misspelled word, and Aponte became the 111th speller eliminated from competition.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee took place May 27-31, with 515 spellers and their families flocking to Washington, D.C., for the competition. Before taking the stage for the live rounds, each participant took a written vocabulary test.

Aponte made it through round two successfully, correctly spelling the word “Gervais,” before going out in round three.

The Apontes, Colin included, had been there before, as their oldest son, Brandon, had competed at the national spelling in 2013.

Aponte, an eighth grade home-school student from Blue Hill, won the Maine State Spelling Bee in March to get to the national bee.

For Aponte, “Bee Week” was a week that will live with him for the rest of his life.

“My favorite part of Bee Week was watching the final 16 compete for the championship title and getting to meet Leland Melvin, an astronaut and former NFL player, who was the special guest speaker,” said Aponte. “It was all very exciting and memorable. I am thankful to everyone for their support.”