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Spelling and Boot Scootin’

Some of the topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

A Preponderance of Orthographers

Young Texans have proven masterful at spelling words that seemingly come from a jostled Scrabble board. They have pretty much owned the Scripps National Spelling Bee in recent years.

Three of the eight co-champions in 2019 came from Texas. Sohum Sukhatankar of Dallas dazzled with his winning word, pendeloque.

Abhijay Kodali of Flower Mound spelled palama. And Rohan Raja of Dallas aced odylic.

They followed in the footsteps of 2018 champion Karthik Nemmani of McKinney, who hoisted the trophy after spelling koinonia.

Nihar Janga of Austin shared the title in 2016 after spelling Gesellschaft.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 bee. The 2021 finals are scheduled for July 8.

Care To Dance?

Texas Dance Hall Preservation donated $262,520 to assist 32 historic dance halls with expenses in 2020.

Dance halls across the state were shut down for most of 2020, unable to hold dances, weddings, festivals and fundraisers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 1,000 dance halls, built mostly by European immigrants, once dotted parts of Texas. Today, fewer than 400 remain. Read Hail the Halls from February 2019 to learn more.

Could English writer Percy Greg have imagined anything like this when he coined the word “astronaut” in the 1800s?

Delpixel | Shutterstock.com

May 5, National Astronaut Day

An etymology dictionary cites 1880 as the earliest use of the word “astronaut.” That’s when English writer Percy Greg coined it for a fictional spaceship.

Worth Repeating

“Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing.”
—Ricki Lake

The LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin was the first presidential library in the state, which now also is home to the archives of both presidents Bush.

Courtesy LBJ Presidential Library

LBJ Archives at 50

The LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin turns 50 on May 22. It was the first presidential library to be located on a college campus and the first anywhere in Texas.

The First Five Presidential Libraries

Opened June 30, 1941
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hyde Park, New York

July 6, 1957
Harry S. Truman
Independence, Missouri

May 1, 1962
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Abilene, Kansas

August 10, 1962
Herbert Hoover
West Branch, Iowa

May 22, 1971
Lyndon B. Johnson
Austin, Texas