The greatest gift of all: learning correct spelling

The tick of the clock, the eerie silence of the room (no buzzing of any kind), and the patient stares from the moderators and other contestants waiting to see if you spell your word correctly. One little letter could knock you out of the competition, and the word might just haunt you forever…

On the bright side, if you spell it right, you’ll be as happy as a bee in a sunny, golden meadow full of daises!

Every year, there is a spelling bee in the CVUSD for grades seven through nine. Here at CVHS, the process begins in the English classes of freshmen students. In each class, there is a mini-spelling bee. The winners represented their classes in the school-wide spelling bee. This year, the school-wide spelling bee was in room 501 and hosted by English teachers Tina Johansson and Colleen Mullany.

“There is a county bee and the district needs to send representatives,” explained Johansson. “English is one of the most difficult languages to spell because of all the influences from other languages,” she added.

Green paper was passed out and Johansson explained the rules. Finally, after much anticipation, the spelling bee began, and the room was silent. One by one, Johansson gave out the words, Mullany gave the definitions and origins if asked for, and the students attempted to spell them out.

And faster than a bee can pollinate sunflower, it was the end of round one. Six students remained. Johansson and Mullany switched roles, and round two began.

Round two, like round one, was full of quizzical looks (many words the contestants had never heard of), hesitant writing, and deep thinking. With some brains, preservation, and just a bit of luck, four people survived the round: Jessica Domingo, Grey Janowski, Helen Liao, and Esther Lim. All four will compete at the district-wide spelling bee at Canyon Middle School on Feb. 21.

The field was reduced to three, and then there were two…

Janowski and Lim battled head to head. Sometimes, one would get one right but the next wrong. Neither was able to spell two in a row correctly, which was necessary to win the competition.

“We’re going to be here ‘til ten!” Johansson joked.

However, in the end, Janowski prevailed, correctly spelling the words “vestige” and “larynx.”

“It’s nerve-wracking to spell in front of people. But it feels good to do well,” Janowski said.

Still, all contestants walked away with a prize: a bigger vocabulary!

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