About two dozen elementary and middle school students braved a cold and dreary evening at Dekaney High School on Thursday, but their spelling talents shined brightly during Spring ISD’s Eighth Annual District Spelling Bee.
Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa congratulated the contestants who earned a spot on stage at Dekaney’s Star Theater.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to not only build up their spelling skills, but most importantly it builds up their confidence to be in an auditorium this big and competing with students across the district.” she said.
The students walked to center stage to receive their words, often requesting the definition, or asking the moderator to use the word in a sentence. Over the course of several rounds a bell would ring, signaling an incorrect spelling. One by one they left the stage.
At the end of the lengthy competition, William Hernandez, a fourth-grader from Hirsch Elementary correctly spelled “topgallant” to secure first place as the audience cheered.
“I was nervous,” he said, but added that the nervousness was replaced by excitement and pride.
Hernandez’s mother, Janie Rodriguez said that she thought he would make it, and when he did she led the cheering audience.
“I screamed really loud. He studied very hard and I helped him. He’s a very smart kid,” she said.
Sixth-grader Mark Peterson from Bailey Middle School, finished the spelling bee in second place. He said that he didn’t want to hear the judges’ bell ring for himself or even for his competitors.
“I didn’t want the other people to lose, so I was kind of thinking in my mind, ‘I hope you spell the word right,’ but I was very nervous that I would spell the word wrong,” Peterson said.
The students who competed on stage were champions or alternates from their individual school campus competitions. After the competition ended, students who had been showcasing their skills onstage, were talking to Dr. Hinojosa about Spring ISD’s schools of choice program.
Spring ISD’s schools of choice program offers families the opportunity to find the best fit for their student and allows them to explore a variety of interests and careers.
“We do provide so many opportunities here in Spring. We have our schools of choice that can really develop and build upon their talents and skills. So it’s time for us to be preparing them for the next steps,” said Hinojosa.
Peterson told Dr. Hinojosa that he intended to return for next year’s Spelling Bee.
“I’ll be back,” he said.
Hernandez and Peterson will now join other regional competitors and go to the regional Houston Public Media Spelling Bee. The top competitors from that area contest will travel to the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee held near Washington D.C.