The 29th annual California Central Valley Spelling Bee got underway bright and early this morning with 57 antsy students gathering at the Scottish Rite Center. With family, friends and classmates watching, Andrew Eugenio - a 6th grader from Phoenix School - was the first student at the microphone at 9:30 a.m.
When competition concluded nearly 4 hours later, Jack Maglalang was the last student standing as he spelled the winning word "toadyism." Today's victory was Jack's 2nd in a row as he also was the winner in 2011. As the champion, Jack will travel to Washington, D.C., in May to represent The Sacramento Bee in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
As things got started, the words were relatively easy. Everything from "mulligan" to "padre" with a "typewriter" and "halitosis" thrown in. After lunch, however the words got more difficult. At noon, 30 spellers remained out of the original 57 and Andrew was up first with "limburger" - the first word, not what was served for lunch. The competition quickly thinned until there were just 10 spellers left.
Things got a little more tense and the judge's bell started ringing more frequently. In the end it was down to Jack and Savitri Asokan - an 8th grader from Olympus School. Savitri stumbled on "olid" and Jack spelled that and "toadyism" correctly to claim victory. And although only one student took home to winner's trophy, all of the young people were winners for being able to spell words some of the adults in the audience had not even heard before.
For the record, the pronouncer was Bob Nathan, a former Sacramento radio personality. Judges were Cheryl Dell, president and publisher of The Bee; and Margaret Bryan, chief administrator at Shriners Children's Hospital of Northern California. Molly Evangelisti is the Spelling Bee director and Ron Brand, the educational services manager at The Bee, helps to organize the event.
Here's a list of the Top 10 finishers.
1. Jack Maglalang, a 6th Grader from Pershing School
2. Savitri Asokan, an 8th grader from Olympus School
3. Catherine Cortez, an 8th grader from St. Basil's
4. Aditya Mishra, (brother of 2010 winner Anvita Mishra) a 5th grader from Excelsior School.
5. Snehaa Ganesh Kumar, a 4th grader from Folsom Hills School
6. Alex Llamado, an 8th grader from Edward Harris School
7. Christina Bussone, an 8th grader from Bridgeway Island School in Yolo County
8. Steven Abramowitz, a 7th grader from Granite Oaks school in Rocklin
9. John Gulden, a 6th grader from Elitha Donner School
10. Alicia Gutierrez an 8th grader from St. Joseph School in Placer County.