Regional spelling champion Peter Khoudary, sponsored by Times Leader, honored at pep rally before heading to Scripps National Spelling Bee


Peter Khoudary honored with pep rally at his school

By Mary Therese Biebel - [email protected]



Peter Khoudary laughs and claps during a pep rally in his honor on Friday, his last day of school at Good Shepherd Academy in Kingston before as he heads to National Harbor, Maryland, for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Seated near him are his siblings Anthony and Theresa with their father, Dr. Raymond Khoudary, behind them.


Regional spelling bee champion Peter Khoudary thanks his schoolmates for their support at a pep rally full of singing, dancing and cheering. There also was a quiet moment during which the other students, led by the principal, all extended their right hands toward Peter and prayed for God to give him wisdom.


Peter Khoudary, who will turn 13 in June, practices spelling words with help from his sister, Theresa, 10, in their Dallas home.


Peter Khoudary consults a dictionary to confirm the definition of the word ‘embracery,’ which refers to an illegal attempt to influence a jury.


Students at Good Shepherd Academy cheer for their favorite speller. The pep rally ended as they sang ‘Happy Trails to You’ to Peter Khoudary.


Peter Khoudary jokes with his sister Theresa at a pep rally in his honor before he heads to the Washington, D.C., area to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His brother, Anthony, and mother, Malak, are sitting near them.



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    Peter Khoudary honored with pep rally at his school

    By Mary Therese Biebel

    [email protected]

    Peter Khoudary laughs and claps during a pep rally in his honor on Friday, his last day of school at Good Shepherd Academy in Kingston before as he heads to National Harbor, Maryland, for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Seated near him are his siblings Anthony and Theresa with their father, Dr. Raymond Khoudary, behind them.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_spell4pep.untoned-1.jpgPeter Khoudary laughs and claps during a pep rally in his honor on Friday, his last day of school at Good Shepherd Academy in Kingston before as he heads to National Harbor, Maryland, for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Seated near him are his siblings Anthony and Theresa with their father, Dr. Raymond Khoudary, behind them.

    Regional spelling bee champion Peter Khoudary thanks his schoolmates for their support at a pep rally full of singing, dancing and cheering. There also was a quiet moment during which the other students, led by the principal, all extended their right hands toward Peter and prayed for God to give him wisdom.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_spell3pep.untoned-1.jpgRegional spelling bee champion Peter Khoudary thanks his schoolmates for their support at a pep rally full of singing, dancing and cheering. There also was a quiet moment during which the other students, led by the principal, all extended their right hands toward Peter and prayed for God to give him wisdom.

    Peter Khoudary, who will turn 13 in June, practices spelling words with help from his sister, Theresa, 10, in their Dallas home.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_spell3.untoned-1.jpgPeter Khoudary, who will turn 13 in June, practices spelling words with help from his sister, Theresa, 10, in their Dallas home.

    Peter Khoudary consults a dictionary to confirm the definition of the word ‘embracery,’ which refers to an illegal attempt to influence a jury.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_spell4.untoned-1.jpgPeter Khoudary consults a dictionary to confirm the definition of the word ‘embracery,’ which refers to an illegal attempt to influence a jury.

    Students at Good Shepherd Academy cheer for their favorite speller. The pep rally ended as they sang ‘Happy Trails to You’ to Peter Khoudary.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_spell1.pep_.untoned-1.jpgStudents at Good Shepherd Academy cheer for their favorite speller. The pep rally ended as they sang ‘Happy Trails to You’ to Peter Khoudary.

    Peter Khoudary jokes with his sister Theresa at a pep rally in his honor before he heads to the Washington, D.C., area to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His brother, Anthony, and mother, Malak, are sitting near them.
    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_TTL052216SpellingPep2-1.jpgPeter Khoudary jokes with his sister Theresa at a pep rally in his honor before he heads to the Washington, D.C., area to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His brother, Anthony, and mother, Malak, are sitting near them.

    http://mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_spell2pepuntoned-1.jpg

    KINGSTON — “PE-TER. PE-TER. PE-TER.”

    Chanting his name and cheering, the student body at Good Shepherd Academy gave 12-year-old Peter Khoudary a royal send-off on Friday afternoon, the last day of school before he heads to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland.

    “It’s surreal and extravagant and nice,” Peter said, showing his characteristic affinity for words at a pep rally during which cheerleaders shook sparkling pompoms and musician Frank Gervasi from The Poets got the young crowd singing along to such diverse songs as “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round,” “Sweet Caroline” and “God Bless America.”

    Students — and teachers — danced in the bleachers, too, to “The Chicken Dance,” “The Pennsylvania Polka” and “Y-M-C-A,” with that last song title being oh-so-easy to spell out.

    Peter can expect more challenging words at the bee, set for May 24-26 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, where recent champions have won a national trophy with scherenschnitte, nunatak, stichomythia and feuilleton.

    His classmates are confident he’ll be able to handle words that don’t usually come up in everyday conversation.

    “I think he’s gonna go pretty far,” said Jacob Drevitch, 13.

    “There’s no doubt in my mind,” agreed Bobby Hornlein, 12.

    Peter won the chance to compete in the national bee during a regional bee the Times Leader sponsored in March. The Times Leader is one of dozens of newspapers, colleges and other organizations sending 285 girls and boys to the 2016 competition.

    Peter’s success is the second time in three years that a student from Good Shepherd Academy won the Times Leader/Scripps Regional Bee, something Good Shepherd principal James Jones credits to “a good connection between the school and the home.”

    “I’m very proud of Peter,” Jones said. “He’s one of the most well-rounded students I know.”

    In addition to his strong academic record Peter is involved with forensics, soccer, basketball and the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. He enjoys playing the piano and whitewater rafting, too.

    As for Bee Week, which begins May 22 and culminates in an awards banquet May 27, it’s designed to be well-rounded with time for sight-seeing and socialization. The spellers take part in a preliminary, written test on Tuesday morning, and an onstage second round on Wednesday. The final rounds are set for Thursday.

    Peter has been reviewing words a lot lately, usually with his parents, Malak and Dr. Raymond Khoudary, but on a recent Wednesday afternoon his 10-year-old sister, Theresa, quizzed him at their home in Dallas.

    “Turn the paper so I don’t see it,” he reminded her before launching into such words as “bolognese,” “habeas corpus” and “pyrophyte.”

    “I need harder words,” he told his sister, who replied she’s not sure how to pronounce the harder words.

    Theresa, who is in fourth grade at Good Shepherd Academy, was dancing and clapping at Friday’s pep rally, alongside her brother. Their parents attended, too, along with older siblings Maria, 19, who is a student at Boston College, and Anthony, 17, who is a student at Holy Redeemer High School.

    Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT

    Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT

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