HONOLULU - Lahaina Intermediate School 8th-grader Kathleen Joy Yagyagan made it to one of the final rounds of the 2012 aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee held on Oahu on Saturday night.
But the 14-year-old from Lahaina incorrectly spelled "irrepressible" (cannot be repressed or restrained) in the 15th round to put her out of the competition.
The eventual winner, Taggart Nakamoto, a 6th-grader at Konawaena Middle School on the Big Island, spelled "billabong" (a backwater caused by overflow from a river and forming a stagnant pool) correctly in the 16th round to take the state title. Roland Afaga Jr., a 6th-grader at Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School, also on the Big Island, was the state first runner-up.
Maui's other representative, Maui District Bee runner-up Jane Nicole Teneza of Lokelani Intermediate, bowed out in the third round.
Jane Nicole, a 14-year-old 8th-grader, spelled "cantata" (musical composition consisting of vocal solos, choruses, etc.) incorrectly.
The bee was aired live Saturday night on PBS Hawaii. Fourteen students from across the state competed for a spot to represent Hawaii in the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C.
Kathleen, who is the Maui District Bee champion, said "irrepressible" was one of the words she did not study.
Even though she did not win the state competition, she said she had "fun."
"I got to learn new words."
Kathleen's prizes include a three months' supply of milk and ice cream from Meadow Gold, a personalized coin from Bee sponsor aio, along with other items from other sponsors.
PBS Hawaii will rebroadcast the state bee at 1 p.m. Saturday.