Spelling Bee winners advance to county competition in February

Rice Elementary School students pose with their certificates and awards after the conclusion of their spelling bee, held Jan. 10 in San Carlos. From left to right, Taylor Ortega, Nayeli Antonio, Aniyah Wilson, Whitney Brown and Darrius Harris. Photo provided.

Rice Elementary School held its spelling bee contest on the evening of Jan. 10. The contest participants were students in kindergarten to fifth grade and students competed in three groups — kindergarten to first grade, second to third grade and fourth to fifth grade.

The winners included Aniyah Wilson, first grade, for the K-1 competition; Taylor Ortega, third grade, for the second-third grade competition; and Whitney Brown, fourth grade, for the fourth-fifth grade competition.

“The competition narrowed down winners to five students that will continue onto the competition at the county level in February,” said Evalina Upshaw, one of two organizers with Sheryl Miles, both teachers at Rice Elementary School. “We [are] sending the top four winners and one alternate to the state level [competition].”

Upshaw said she appreciates the support of parents and the community.

“We had 35 contestants and 35 alternates, and they all did a great job!” she said. “We had a great turn out of parents and we truly appreciate their support of helping their child prepare for the spelling bee contest.”

Spelling bees require dedication and commitment to learn how to spell hundreds — sometimes thousands — of words. Such competitions are great activities for students, and they offer several benefits besides enhancing vocabulary.

Students gain a valuable educational experience, gain competency, build confidence, participate in healthy competition, learn grammar, learn about preparation, definitions, pronunciation and roots of words.

Above all, students have fun and their experience helps them to excel at reading and writing. The ability to understand more words allows students to become literate and to appreciate reading.

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