By Jon Craig
Greenburgh’s star speller Harshita Shet placed 47th in the nation Thursday after Round 4 of the E.W. Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Harshita, a fourth-grader at Richard J. Bailey Elementary School, advanced from a field of 281 finalists by spelling “eugenics” in Round 3 on Wednesday. The 10-year-old daughter of Kiran and Manju Shet was the only student from Westchester County who qualified to compete in the annual national spelling bee. She was accompanied to Washington by her principal, Marguerite Clarkson.
Harshita credited her 15-year-old brother, Harshel, with helping her prepare for the local spelling finals. Harshel’s a freshman at Stepinac High School.
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said that since Harshita’s still in elementary school, she could get four more shots at winning a national spelling title. Harshita was sponsored by the Theodore D. Young Community Center and competed against students up to the age of 14.
Harshita, who attends the Greenburgh Xposure afterschool program, placed first in the Greenburgh Central School District’s Bumble Bees competition in March.
Harshita and other top spellers who outdistanced about 120 youngsters competing in the school district competition were honored by the Greenburgh Town Board.
The national spelling bee finals were televised live by ABC and ESPN.
The Round 4 competition included a set of computer spelling and vocabulary tests, which qualified 46 youngsters for the ESPN Television on-air competition that continued with Semifinal Rounds 5 and 6 and the finals.