The bee’s knees

Two Alta Vista eighth graders will com­pete in county spell­ing bee

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By ALEXIS ESPINOZA ae­[email protected]­villere­corder.com

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.

RECORDER PHOTO BY CHIEKO HARA

Ron­nie Cad­well spells the win­ning word Thurs­day, Jan. 10, 2019 dur­ing the an­nual Alta Vista Ele­men­tary School Spell­ing Bee.

RECORDER PHOTO BY CHIEKO HARA

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.

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