A Dual Language student at Cedar Brook Elementary and a Valley Oaks Elementary fifth-grader finished first and second, respectively, at the recently held Spring Branch ISD Spelling Bee.
Forty-six students attended the Spelling Bee on Feb. 22 at Westchester Academy for International Studies, which ran for several hours.
On Saturday, March 23, SBISD will be represented at the regional Houston Public Media Spelling Bee by district winner Isabella Conner, 10, a fourth-grader at Cedar Brook Elementary. Isabella takes all of her classes with the Dual Language program’s fifth-graders this year.
Runner-up at the recent district Spelling Bee was Daniyal Salman of Valley Oaks Elementary, a fifth-grader. He serves as an alternate for the upcoming regional Spelling Bee.
Isabella won the district title at the beginning of the 11th round by correctly spelling the word “mimetic,” an adjective which is used to describe the quality of being imitative, or exhibiting mimicry.
The word was not on the Spelling Bee word list used in the first four rounds of competition, making it highly challenging for all bee participants.
“I asked a lot of questions before trying to spell it, and then I made my best educated guess,” Isabella recalls. Her district win left both the Cedar Brook student and several of her family members shocked. She is the first winner ever of the district Spelling Bee from the Cedar Brook campus.
When her shock wore off, Isabella had more energy than she knew what to do with. As a third-grader, she was campus runner-up last year and spelled her way to a 16th place overall district ranking. She ran circles around some auditorium seats to release her victor’s energy.
“Her event goal was to beat her score from last year,” said her mom, Laura Conner. “I told her she’d break the Top 10, but we were shocked when she did win [district].”
Isabella, who loves reading, and her mom prepared for the spelling stage at Westchester Academy together.
“I do call myself good at reading and spelling, but I did work, prepared and studied for 1½ hours a day,” Isabella said. Her mother, who Isabella called lovingly an “atrocious” speller, read out word lists for Isabella to spell.
As the district winner, Isabella received a special medal and trophy, as well as a Kindle Fire tablet.
As SBISD’s top speller, Isabella will advance to the next level of competition later this month at the Houston Public Media Bee. It ranks as the largest regional spelling bee in the United States, and will have more than 50 student spellers representing area school districts.
In advance of that competition, Isabella will prepare with volunteer Roberta Smiley, the district bee’s pronouncer and a former National Spelling Bee finalist.
The top two regional spellers here will then advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be held this summer in National Harbor, Md., near Washington, D.C.
Twenty-five SBISD elementary and middle schools sent winners and runner-ups to the auditorium at Westchester Academy for the district spelling bee.
Roberta Smiley, pronouncer, was joined by three judges – Jessica Hughes, district director of Innovative Resource Media Systems; Katie Redd, community relations specialist; and Jesse Waltman, learning and design specialist with the district Professional Personalized Learning team.
SBISD’s Spelling Bee was sponsored by the Advanced Academic Studies Dept. Amy Ellingson is department facilitator.
Campus Winners and Runners-Up
Buffalo Creek Elementary – Josephine Lopez, Winner; Yamileth Molina, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: David Rodriguez
Bunker Hill Elementary – Dani Hamilton, Winner; Elisabeth Tolentino, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Jill Melancon
Cedar Brook Elementary – Isabella Conner, Winner; Amaya Rushing, Runner-up
Campus Coordinator: Stella Aramayo
Edgewood Elementary – Miranda Buxton, Winner; Trinity Nguyen, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Priscilla Griffin
Frostwood Elementary – Katherine Hayes, Winner; William Tristan, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Cheryl Mallette & Shelley Stalnacker
Housman Elementary – Jacie McIntosh, Winner;
Hunters Creek Elementary – Winston Silsby, Winner; Neha Umaselvan, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Roberta Smiley, Natalie Castellanos, Angie Murray & Beth Silsby
Meadow Wood Elementary – Alishba Siddiqui, Winner; Kayla Sullivan, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Kay Taylor
Memorial Drive Elementary – Xavier Saab, Winner; Andrew Miller, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Amy Lindsay
Nottingham Elementary – Madisyn Chu, Winner; Laurel Hoskovec, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Stacey Zubair
Pine Shadows Elementary – Xiomara Panameno Castro, Winner; Morgan Le, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Josephine Stringer
Ridgecrest Elementary – Thuan Tran, Winner; Ashley Marcos, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Maria Dimareli
Shadow Oaks Elementary – Nicholas Neumann, Winner, Ricky Flores, Runner-up
Campus Coordinator: Stephanie Barerra and Jennifer Greenhill
Spring Branch Academic Institute – Ben Guo, Winner
Campus Coordinator: James Lefeber & Ashlee Wilson
Terrace Elementary – Emma Estrada, Winner; Jocelin Jimenez-Muñoz, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Lindsey Grace
Treasure Forest Elementary – Leonardo Hernandez, Winner; Anna Lopez, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Sandra Carrizales
Valley Oaks Elementary – Daniyal Salman, Winner; Chase Nguyen, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Becky Reese
Westwood Elementary – Izaiah Brasfield, Winner; Madelyn Razo, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: HaLam Tran and Marianne Elias
Wilchester Elementary – Wyatt Throckmorton-Kahn, Winner; Rhea Chidambaram, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Jean Cataldo
Woodview Elementary – Adrian St. Romain, Winner; Jocelyn Gutierrez, Runner-Up
Cornerstone Academy – Josue Reyes-Barbosa, Winner; Santiago Pena, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Holly Smetek and Linda Bimler
Spring Branch Academic Institute – Katrina Kasyan, Winner
Campus Coordinator: James Lefeber & Ashlee Wilson
Spring Branch Middle – Shirin Shatery, Winner; Zakir Hussain, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Sarah Miller
Spring Forest Middle – Mawara Khan, Winner; Ellie Klingbeil, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Terri Cyphers and Katrina Stanfill
Westchester Academy – Jonathan Barnes, Winner; Alina Madyarova, Runner-Up
Campus Coordinator: Kelsey Cline