UPDATE: St. Francis of Assisi 8th grader heading to Scripps Nati - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: St. Francis of Assisi 8th grader heading to Scripps National Spelling Bee

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Thomas York, Alizeh Rizvi and Laura Gebur (Photo courtesy SSC) Thomas York, Alizeh Rizvi and Laura Gebur (Photo courtesy SSC)
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

A Rochester 8th grader will be cramming for the Scripps National Spelling Bee after winning the Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee Tuesday. 

Thomas York from St. Francis of Assisi School will join four other students from Minnesota in Washington, D.C. for the national competition in May. 

Alizeh Rizvi, a 6th grade student from Rochester Public Schools - Friedell, was the 1st Runner-Up, and Laura Gebur, an 8th grade student from St. Mary’s Owatonna, was the 2nd Runner-Up.

Twelve kids from all over southeast Minnesota tested their orthographic skills at Tuesday's bee. They were thrown some curve balls with words like keest, degauss and panary. 

After 14 rounds, the word that made York the victor was toponymic. Merriam-Webster defines toponymy as, "the place-names of a region or language or especially the etymological study of them."

While York won Tuesday, he says he is already looking ahead to nationals in the spring. 

Only one Minnesotan has ever won the national spelling bee, and that was back in 2001. 


One lucky grade school student will be on his or her way to Washington, D.C. after the Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee in Rochester Tuesday morning. 

Seventy-three students participated in two regional spelling bees earlier this month, and now only 12 are left in the running. 

Tuesday's winner will head to our nation's capitol to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. 

Last year's winner was Benjamin Lee from Byron Middle School, who made it to the third round at the national competition. 

Tuesday's spelling bee gets started at 9 a.m. at the Wood Lake Meeting Center.

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