Alex J. Clifton Wells, an eight-grader at Standley Middle School, made it to the semis by correctly spelling "mince" and "amadelphous," and in the first round of the semifinals, he correctly spelling "kinetosis." But he stumbled on "dansant," which is pronounced dahN-sahN and is a French adjective for dancing.
The championship round will be held later today and will be shown on ABC, tape-delayed on the West Coast, at 8 p.m.
In addition to spelling, Wells is an accomplished musician who plays the bassoon, piano and clarinet. He also composes symphony and chamber music and has performed with local and statewide honor bands. He hopes to become a composer and symphony conductor.
The winner of the spelling bee will receive $30,000 from Scripps, $5,000 from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, and reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica valued at $3,600.
Only one Southern Californian has ever won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which began in 1925. Anurag Kashyap of Poway won in 2005.