Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Seventh-grader wins district Spelling Bee

A Spring Forest Middle School seventh-grader and a middle school student at the district’s Spring Branch Academic Institute finished first and second, respectively, at the recently held Spring Branch ISD Spelling Bee.

More than 40 SBISD students qualified for the spelling event as winner or runner-up at their respective campuses. This year’s Spelling Bee was held on Jan. 31, and the winning word after 16 rounds was “haggis,” the name of a traditional dish of Scotland.

Looking ahead, SBISD will be represented at the regional Houston Public Media Spelling Bee by district winner Mawara Khan, 13, of Spring Forest Middle School. 

Emily Hopkins, who attends the district’s program for very highly gifted students, serves as Khan’s alternate. The regional Spelling Bee will be conducted Feb. 29.

As winner and runner-up, Khan and Hopkins received special trophies at the end of the local Bee.

SBISD Spelling Bee pronouncer Roberta Smiley, a National Spelling Bee finalist in her youth, offered free spelling bee instruction and practice to campus finishers. 

Smiley divides the benefits of spelling bee participation into obvious and not-so-obvious categories. Increased student vocabulary and improved reading fluency and public speaking skills are obvious benefits.

Less obvious, in her view, are student pluses that range from improved study and logical thinking skills to short- and long-term goal setting, and personal insights to learning styles and “what works best for each individual.”

A spelling bee helps with character development, too, including important lessons related to success and failure, and perseverance, or what is now often referred to as “grit,” Smiley noted.

Finally, practice and study can build family bonds, she recalled. “I still have fond memories of ‘running words’ with my mother, although that happened almost 50 years ago!”

Joining Smiley, the pronouncer, at the Jan. 31 Spelling Bee were Jessica Hughes, district director of Innovative Resource Media Systems; Rebecca Singley, learning and design specialist, Professional Personalized Learning; and Kristin Graham, gifted and talented facilitator, Advanced Academic Studies.

Spelling Bee in the Spotlight from SBISD on Vimeo.

Campus Winners and Runners-Up

Buffalo Creek Elementary – Tamara Hamm, Winner; Andres Esquivel, Runner-Up

Bunker Hill Elementary – Jack Strickler, Winner; Atticus Rigo, Runner-Up

Cedar Brook Elementary – Belkis Ordóñez, Winner; Dania Fuselier, Runner-Up

Edgewood Elementary – Miranda Buxton, Winner; Bien Almario, Runner-Up

Frostwood Elementary – Luna Kim, Winner; Jordan Chong, Runner-Up

Hunters Creek Elementary – Neha Umaselvan, Winner; Jasmine Desai, Runner-Up

Meadow Wood Elementary – Isaac Deakins, Winner; Johnny Dunal, Runner-Up

Memorial Drive Elementary – Xavier Saab, Winner; Luna Mirza, Runner-Up

Nottingham Elementary – Keegan Spell, Winner; Emily Graham, Runner-Up

Pine Shadows Elementary – Emma Lopez, Winner; Morgan Le, Runner-Up

Ridgecrest Elementary – Haldrin Ramos, Winner; Leiby Chacón, Runner-Up

Shadow Oaks Elementary – Michelle Salinas, Winner; Mohammad Mohammad, Runner-Up

Spring Branch Academic Institute (Elementary) – Arthur Jainsky, Winner

Spring Shadows Elementary – Darwin Romero, Winner; Priscilla Peña, Runner-Up

Terrace Elementary – Ethan Bryant, Winner; Gehazie Garcia, Runner-Up

Valley Oaks Elementary – Carolina Leman, Winner; Charlotte Cagle, Runner-Up

Westwood Elementary – Ayaan Wyne, Winner; Kolton Brod, Runner-Up

Wilchester Elementary – Wyatt Throckmorton-Kahn, Winner

Woodview Elementary – Iffah Kabir, Winner; Caleb Wagema, Runner-Up

Cornerstone Academy – Shreya Chella, Winner; Daniyal Salman, Runner-Up

Spring Oaks Middle – Leah Ramirez, Winner; Joshua Lopez, Runner-Up

Spring Branch Middle – William Streett, Winner; Anjali Mandilwar, Runner-Up

Spring Forest Middle – Mawara Khan, Winner; Harrison Brooks, Runner-Up

Spring Branch Academic Institute (Middle School) – Emily Hopkins, Winner

Westchester Academy – Jonathan Barnes, Winner; Lily Evans, Runner-Up

The district Spelling Bee was sponsored by the Advanced Academic Studies Department.

View photos from the event >>