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OXON HILL, Md. — Sarvesh Arivarasu is coming away from the Scripps National Spelling Bee with an experience he’ll never forget — and some new friends.

The 12-year-old represented Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School as one of 562 spellers in the national bee, having first emerged as the victor of the 41st Annual Regional Spelling Bee in March. This week, he took a written test and correctly spelled “marmoreal” onstage in Round 2 of the bee. On Wednesday morning, he missed his Round 3 word — “conceptualize” — by just one letter.

Sarvesh, who is in seventh grade, found plenty of positives in the experience.

"Making it past the first spelling round on stage was pretty cool," said Sarvesh, who was sponsored by the Macon-Piatt Regional Officer of Education. "I enjoyed meeting new people and making friends over the last few days."

He and his family — mom Poornima, dad Ari and 5-year-old brother Santhosh — have also been making use of the trip to sightsee in the nation’s capital, which is a short trip from the convention center where the bee is held.

Ari Arivarasu said he is proud of what his son has accomplished.

"This has been a great experience for him and we are so proud of him," Ari said. "Watching him work hard and enjoy the whole process has been so enjoyable."

The competition will conclude Thursday after 50 finalists compete for a $50,000 grand prize.

Sarvesh said he is looking forward to watching the final rounds, which air at 7:30 p.m. tonight on ESPN.

"I am excited to cheer on my new friends who made it to the finals," he said.

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Contact Analisa Trofimuk at (217) 421-7985. Follow her on Twitter: @AnalisaTro

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