Campbell Spelling Bee Champs Don't Need Spellcheck

Fifth annual Campbell Union School District Spelling Bee took place Wednesday.


Halcyon. Ennui. Diurnal. These words definitely aren't part of your average teenage cell phone/text lingo.

The Campbell Union School District held its fifth annual district-wide Spelling Bee Wednesday night and these were just a few of the words spellers endured during the 20-round competition.

(Watch the video of contestants here.)

Fifteen students, five from each of the district's three middle schools—Campbell, Monroe and Rolling Hills—competed for top honors Jan. 23.

"Spelling is so important in our culture today with out students and texting and being able to not only understand the root words but also but have the concept of where words originated and the meaning," says Campbell Middle School Principal April Mouton.

The United States National Spelling Bee is credited as the first spelling competition in 1925, with the winning word that year being "gladiolus." The contest was then sponsored by the Scripps Howard News Service in 1941 when the contest name was changed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

At the Campbell Union School District competition, each school had an overall winner from earlier competitions and the district invited the top five students at each school to participate in the district-wide competition.

The three school winners—Campbell Middle School seventh grader Anais Tretau, Monroe Middle School seventh grader Sophia Claas and Rolling Hills Middle School sixth grader Ken Nakajima will all compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Prior to the Jan. 23 competition, the local middle schools went up to 23 rounds, sometimes spelling more than 100 words in order to name a winner. Words like: mononucleosis, asphyxiant and isosceles stumped some and caused pause in others at Wednesday's event.

This year's winning words at the school level included:

  • "Sinusitis" at Campbell MS
  • "Transmogrify" at Rolling Hills
  • "Planetarium" at Monroe MS.

"Our middle schools have a lot of after-school sports and clubs that recognize the athlete, but we didn't have anything that recognized strong academics," says Campbell Middle School's Tracy Brown. "We wanted to recognize students who had these academic skills and a spelling bee is a way to do so."

The judges at this year's were Tracy Brown from Campbell Middle, Steve Burbank from Rolling Hills and Cyndi Gale from Monroe Middle.


Below is the list of the participating spellers by grade and school:

Campbell MS Monroe MS Rolling Hills MS 5th Grade Isha Giron Peter Ramos & Raynele Cruz Patrick Chan 6th Grade Nicholas Hanson, Helen Yang & Ken Nakajima 7th Grade Victoria Garcia & Anais Tretau Maghumita Sugumar, Sarah Bald & Sophia Claas Hamza Mustafa 8th Grade Will Butler & Melina Torres


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Mayra Flores de Marcotte January 24, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Congratulations to all these talented students. Man. It was a nail-biter toward the end!
Michelle Valine January 25, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Thank you "Patch" for coming out and covering this event!
Mayra Flores de Marcotte January 25, 2013 at 06:14 PM
It was our pleasure, @Michelle! Watching the kids spell out words that even stumped me was great and sharing it with the rest of our community is just an added perk ;)
Phil Reynolds, Jr. January 26, 2013 at 12:40 AM
I want to give a huge "CONGRATULATIONS" to all of the contestants, and especially to Madam Chair, Tretau. Anais Tretau was the Chair during the Planning Commission Apprenticeship last year, for Citizen School's after school leadership program. Miss Tretau is a natural leader and a great student. She definitely has a great future ahead of her. Madame Chair, I wish you the best in your next spelling competition. I know you'll do a great job! Phil Reynolds, Jr. Chair, Planning Commission City of Campbell


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