The bee’s knees
Two Alta Vista eighth graders will compete in county spelling bee
With the county spelling bee looming in the distant future, thirteen nervous students sat at the front of the Alta Vista Elementary School cafeteria patiently waiting for the school’s annual county qualifier spelling bee to begin Thursday evening. Supportive families took their seats in the audience, and microphone checks and adjustments were made.
Among the participating students ranging in grades from fourth to eighth, four fourth graders, five fifth graders, one seventh grader and three eighth graders took their shots at securing one of two open seats for the county bee.
“Spelling is a lost art,” said Vanessa Reilly, Alta Vista’s activities coordinator. “And we can thank texting for that.”
Reilly then laid out the rules for the competing spellers. If the speller needed the word used in a sentence, it was required that they ask the announcer. The spellers were not allowed to correct themselves if they caught their own mistake while spelling, and no pencils or paper were allowed. If the speller needed to spell the word out before the recited it to the announcer, they were only permitted to air spell with their finger.
The spelling bee was judged by three judges, Jane Mitchell, an Alta Vista administrator, Superintendent Rob Hudson, and Cliff Cantrell, Alta Vista’s principal.
Once the rules were laid out and understood, the spelling bee began.
Round one began with fifth grader Marylin Hernandez. Hernandez was presented with the word “fun”, which she spelt without hesitation. As the first round progressed, two spellers were knocked out of the running. Betzenia Moreno, a seventh grader, was given the word “rain”, and she accidently began the spelling with the letter “A”. Similarly, fourth grader Jimmy Luna was presented with the word “city” which he began with an “s” before quickly realizing his mistake. Upon being disqualified, Luna sat next to his mother with his shoulders slumped in obvious sadness.
Round two began with the word “lima”, and all of the remaining spellers succeeded in passing the round.
Round three started off with the word “pillows”, which was spelled correctly. Later in the round, fifth grader Oliver Rodriguez, was presented with the word “wary”, and he spelled it “w-e-r-e-y”, knocking him out of the running for a county bee spot.
Round four, which eliminated the most spellers, started with the word “ghost”, which Hernandez spelled flawlessly. Eduardo Aguilar, an eighth grader at Alta Vista, was given the word “majestic” which
caused him to struggle a bit, ultimately ending in his disqualification. Following Aguilar, fifth grader Jose Andrade, was given “custard”. Andrade spelt “c-u-s-t-e-r” resulting in the end of his chance to move on to the county bee.
Joseleen Garay, another fifth grader, took to the microphone after Andrade to spell “glands”. This word tripped Garay up, which diminished her opportunity to spell at the county bee. The last of the spellers to be knocked out in round four was Angelly Perez. Perez was met with the word “creatures”, and she struggled to spell it correctly. After being eliminated, Perez made her way to her mother who took her into her arms in a loving embrace.
Round five began with Hernandez, who was given the word “despair”. Unfortunatlely, Hernandez was unable to spell this word correctly and was disqualified. Lavina Robles, a fourth grader, was given “infinity”, which she failed to spell correctly. The final fourth grader left standing, Jayden Lowe, was faced with the word “swivelled” with which he had a difficult time spelling. Lowe sadly did not spell the word correctly, resulting in his elimination from the contest.
By the end of round five, only three students were left standing: Ronnie Cadwell and Evangelina Arroyo, both eighth graders, and Monserrath Ramos, the final fifth grader. Cadwell stood center stage at the beginning of round six. “Resemble” was the word Cadwell was asked to spell, which he breezed through with flying colors. Arroyo took her turn following Cadwell, and was presented with the word “leopard”. Arroyo did not spell this word correctly, and the energy in the room tensed as Ramos approached the microphone. If she could spell the word given to her correctly, the spelling bee would be over. Ramos was given “flail” which she spelled incorrectly, forcing the competition into a knockout round.
Because he had spelt his word correctly, Cadwell placed first and secured his spot in the county spelling bee. It was down to Arroyo and Ramos for the second county spelling bee seat.
First to approach the microphone for the knockout round was Arroyo, who was given “qualify”, which she spelt correctly. Ramos was given the tricky word “hoisted”, but succeed in giving the correct spelling. Arroyo took center stage again to spell “banishment”. She spelled it right, and Ramos approached the microphone again. “Mockingly” was the word she was presented with, and unfortunately she spelled it incorrectly and Arroyo secured the second spot in the county spelling bee.
A thundering round of applause filled the room at the announcement of the winners, and Cadwell and Arroyo beamed out at the audience. Ramos will also be heading to the county bee, but as an alternate if one of the other two spellers can’t make it.
When asked about their success in the spelling bee, Arroyo and Cadwell had differing feelings.
“I’m nervous, actually,” said Arroyo. “I’m surprised I actually made it this far.”
“I feel good,” said Cadwell who stood next to his ecstatic mother, Kim Cadwell.
“I’m super, super excited and proud,” said Kim Cadwell, who couldn’t stop smiling down at her son.
The county spelling bee is set for Feb. 20 at the Visalia Convention Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. Both Arroyo and Cadwell will be competing amongst the top spellers in the county, where the county champion will go on to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Ronnie Cadwell spells the winning word Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 during the annual Alta Vista Elementary School Spelling Bee.
Ronnie Cadwell, left, Evangelina Arroyo, and Monserrath Ramos, right, receive certificates Thursday, Jan. 10, at the annual Alta Vista Elementary School Spelling Bee. Cadwell won the contest, Arroyo came in second, and Ramos took third.