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Hub spelling bee winner shows the value of practice

Fourth-grader Zachary Doiron won Boston’s citywide spelling bee yesterday. Fourth-grader Zachary Doiron won Boston’s citywide spelling bee yesterday. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
By Ursula Munn
Globe Correspondent / March 13, 2011

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After correctly spelling the word “toboggan’’ and realizing he had won Boston’s fourth annual Citywide Spelling Bee yesterday, Zachary Doiron sat down and cried.

“I practice every night,’’ said Zachary, is a fourth-grader at Thomas A. Edison School in Brighton who said he happened to have reviewed the winning word directly before the bee.

“I just went with my instincts to spell the word,’’ he said following his victory. Zachary’s emotional reaction came after a consistently poised performance, in which he never hesitated before spelling.

“He’s pretty confident, so if he knows it, he’s just going to say it,’’ said Zachary’s father, Mike Doiron. But his son’s tears of relief did not surprise him either. “He’s very intense, so the emotions come out at the end.’’

Zachary was one of the youngest competitors in the fourth- through eighth-grade competition.

Yesterday morning’s event, organized by the Boston Centers for Youth & Families and sponsored by the Boston Bruins Foundation, was the culmination of qualifying bees at each of the 20 participating schools — meaning that Zachary ultimately beat out more than 3,000 local students.

As the competition at Faneuil Hall heated up, first-round words such as “baton’’ and “mathematics’’ progressed to those including “knavery’’ and “automaton’’ — the word that eliminated runner-up Caleb Green, an eighth-grader at the Boston Preparatory Charter School.

Boston Latin School seventh-grader Linda Qin was the second runner-up.

Organizers said this year’s bee benefited from certain consistencies, such as the same judges as last year. Outreach efforts were also improved, including take-away bags and engraved medals for each participant, said Meagan Seaman, BCYF community learning initiative coordinator.

In addition to the opportunity to represent Boston in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington in May, Zachary received as a prize a Merriam-Webster dictionary, which he said he hopes to use in practicing for the Scripps bee.

The only Massachusetts winner of the national spelling bee took the title in 1939, according to the BCYF.

Ursula Munn can be reached at umunn@globe.com.