Spring Branch ISD Featured News

SBISD students would rather BEE spelling, Cornerstone Academy’s Katelyn Wadas wins district spelling bee



Katelyn Wadas, an eighth-grade student at Cornerstone Academy, and Divakar Shenoy, a seventh-grade student at Memorial Middle, finished first and second, respectively, at the 2023 Spring Branch ISD District Spelling Bee. 

Top student spellers gathered at Westchester Academy for International Studies on Friday, Feb. 17, for the SBISD District Spelling Bee. During the spelling bee, 50 students from schools across the district in grades third through eighth competed for the winning title. 

The students were pre-qualified, as they had previously participated in oral tests before advancing to the district-wide competition. After 11 rounds, the winning word was “isonomy.” Katelyn will represent SBISD at the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee hosted by Houston Community College on Saturday, March 25. 

“The spelling bee is one of my favorite annual events!” said Amy Ellingson, facilitator for Advanced Academic Studies at SBISD and event director. “The students work very hard and this is a great way to showcase their talents.” 

Students were excited to demonstrate their spelling knowledge in front of their friends and family. Event judges included Roberta Smiley, pronouncer and National Spelling Bee finalist, Linda Bimler, SBISD Gifted and Talented facilitator, Margarita Ramos, SBISD Multilingual instructional specialist, and Shari Jones, SBISD Secondary Humanities Literacy instructional specialist. 

Katelyn noted that she was happy to win and had studied very hard to get familiar with spelling.

“My mom helped me practice. We would do a round and I would go study the words that I missed,” said Katelyn. “I think it worked!” 

View the list of campus winners and runner-ups. 

View the full photo gallery.