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One Arizonan alive in National Spelling Bee
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One Arizonan alive in National Spelling Bee

PHOENIX — An Arizona boy is still alive in the National Spelling Bee.

Christopher O’Connor of Tucson, Ariz., is one of the 41 remaining semifinalists in the national bee.

O’Connor, 13, is in the seventh grade at St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic School.

The day opened with the word “glasnost” and was soon followed by “perestroika”- language from the Cold War-era for a group of youngsters born long after the heyday of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Twenty spellers breezed through words such as “mandir,” “Eocene” and “tertiary” before the telltale bell rang for the first time when Alan Shi of Irvine, Calif., put an “s” instead of a “c” at the start of “cynosure.”

The spellers came from all 50 states as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, China, Ghana, Italy, American Samoa, the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The youngest was 8-year-old Tara Singh of Louisville, Ky., who did not qualify for the semifinals. Last year there was a 6-year-old- Lori Anne Madison, the youngest speller ever to qualify- but she did not win her regional bee this year.

Earlier in the day, Samuel Yeager, 14, went out of the competition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.