Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
February 27, 2011
By Juliette Funes, Staff Writer
Paladin' sends boy to D.C.
Walnut student wins spelling bee
WALNUT - Dozens of family members Saturday packed into the Feddersen Recital Hall at Mt. San Antonio College to cheer on a group of spelling whiz kids who frequently asked one very important question - "Can you use the word in a sentence?"
After more than four hours of spelling words ranging from "anomaly" to "eocene" at the fourth annual Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee competition, 31 students were whittled down to two.
Tin Kuo of Walnut and Rebecca Norden-Bright of Upland sparred back and forth for 25 rounds before Tin won the sixth championship round after correctly spelling "paladin."
"I'm happy," said Tin, an eighth-grader at Suzanne Middle School.
The Friends of the Diamond Bar Library sponsored the event, which is a regional qualifying contest for the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee that will be held in Washington, D.C., in June.
"I think it strengthens the literacy foundation, and I think that's something we need to pay attention to more these days," said Marsha Hawkins, director of the 2011 spelling bee.
"It develops poise and confidence in these students. They receive a lot of recognition."
The Friends of the library will provide Tin with an all-expenses paid trip to the national event, where he will face tough competition and go head-to-head with nearly 290 students from around the world for a chance to win $30,000.
"I'm going to win," said Tin, who studied dictionary words nonstop for two weeks.
Fifty-nine students from 53 schools in the San Gabriel and Inland valleys - including from Pomona, La Verne Rancho Cucamonga and San Dimas - made the preliminary rounds.
The youngest to make the finals was 9-year-old Rebecca, a fourth-grade student from Magnolia Elementary School.
"She is described by her teachers as a remarkable young lady, and we would agree," Hawkins said. "Rebecca did very well last year and was eliminated in the 10th of 14 rounds."
She returned this year to show off her spelling skills, making it to second place.
"I'm proud of myself," she said, adding that she plans to compete once again next year.
Other students who made the finals were William Dai from Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar, Elizabeth Able from Canyon Hills Junior High School in Chino Hills and Marcos Castillo from St. Joseph School in La Puente.
Studying was made easier with the help of the event's other sponsors, Merriam-Webster, the Mt. SAC Foundation, and the Walnut Friends of the Library, which will donate dictionaries for giving away to some of the finalists.
Tin Kuo of Suzanne Middle School, Walnut, successfully spells Paladin to win in round 25 of the Friends of the Diamond Bar Library s fourth Annual Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. (SGVN/Eric Reed/Staff Photographer)