Fifth-graders Ian Lu (standing) and John Paul Le (seated) placed first and second, respectively, in the Spring Branch ISD Spelling Bee.
Fifth-graders Ian Lu and John Paul Le placed first and second, respectively, in the Spring Branch ISD Spelling Bee conducted Feb. 18 at Westchester Academy for International Studies.
Ian Lu attends the district’s School for the Highly Gifted, where he was Spelling Bee campus winner. John Paul Le won the campus spelling contest at Wilchester Elementary.
Nineteen elementary campuses and six middle schools sent Spelling Bee winners and runner-ups to the Westchester Academy auditorium for the district’s annual spell-off contest. Roberta Smiley, a volunteer and Spelling Bee advocate, was official pronouncer this year.
As Spelling Bee winner, Ian received a trophy, a big-size Webster’s International Dictionary and a gift certificate. He will compete next in Houston Public Media’s upcoming regional Spelling Bee on April 2.
The regional winner and runner-up are invited to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., later this year. Both the regional and national spelling bee are televised.
Ian won the SBISD title after nine rounds of spelling, with students called by their assigned numbers, one by one, up to the microphone. “I thought that I’d do well, but I did not think I’d be the winner,” he said.
Ian practiced spelling word lists on his own before the competition. For runner-up John Paul Le, who joins SBISD from a private school, everything was new. “I was not experienced at speaking out loud. It made me nervous and excited at the same time,” he said.
Joining announcer Roberta Smiley on the WAIS auditorium stage were Sunny Bell de la Garza, gifted and talented program facilitator, SBISD Advanced Academic Studies Dept.; Julie Hummel, district professional development coordinator; and Dianne Gebhardt, community relations specialist.
Event sponsor was Advanced Academic Studies Facilitator Amy Ellingson. The Spelling Bee is also supported by Blue Willow Bookstore.
Campus Winners and Runners-Up:Elementary Schools
Buffalo Creek – Dominick Elizondo, Winner; Giselle Torres, Runner-Up
Bunker Hill – Sarah Hwang, Winner; Annie Jones, Runner-Up
Cedar Brook – Ariel Robles, Winner; Isabella Luu, Runner-Up*
Edgewood – Nicholas Cepeda, Winner; Ezekiel Serrano, Runner-Up
Frostwood – Chase Goodwin, Winner; Jonathan Ji, Runner-Up
Housman – Brandon Ibarra, Winner; Elliana Woods, Runner-Up
Hunters Creek – Srijan Velamuri, Winner*; Luke Romere, Runner-Up
Meadow Wood – Harrison Brooks, Winner; Sarah Schwartz, Runner-Up
Memorial Drive – Cole Hartung, Winner*; Luke Jackson, Runner-Up
Nottingham – Darcy Broaddus, Winner; Peter Vescovo, Runner-Up
Pine Shadows – Abigail “Abbey” Staffel, Winner; Trust Young, Runner-Up
Ridgecrest – Jay Arrizon, Winner; Raul Vazquez, Runner-Up
School for the Highly Gifted – Ian Lu, Winner; Emily Hopkins, Runner-Up
Shadow Oaks – Sara Moussa, Winner; Jose Ramirez, Runner-Up
Spring Branch – Ian Sotuyo, Winner; Francesca Ochoa, Runner-Up
Terrace – Mia Yetiv, Winner; Gabriela Cuellar, Runner-Up
Valley Oaks – Avi Patel, Winner; Daniel Rampersaud, Runner-Up*
Westwood – Jose Andres Mejia, Winner; Kevin Soto, Runner-Up
Wilchester – John Paul Le, Winner; Nolan Zeng, Runner-Up
Cornerstone Academy – Macy Hempe, Winner**; Kinsey Jeansonne, Runner-Up
Landrum Middle – Charles Dugas, Winner; Kyle Bates, Runner-Up
Memorial Middle – Isabella Truong, Winner; Carissa Nair, Runner-Up
Spring Branch Middle – Asha Ayyar, Winner; Hannah Krenz, Runner-Up***
Spring Forest Middle – Patrick LeClair, Winner; Daniela Perez, Runner-Up*
Westchester Academy – Chase Segui, Winner; Betty Carrion, Runner-Up
*Denotes previous SBISD Spelling Bee participation