San Gabriel Valley Tribune
March 25, 2012
By Brian Day
Walnut Valley Unified School District dominates regional spelling bee
WALNUT - Students from the Walnut Unified School district claimed the three tops spots Saturday in the Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee.
Thirty-one students from grades two to eight competed against each other for the grand prize - a trip to Washington, D.C., later in the year to represent the Inland and San Gabriel valleys in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
And at the end of the day, seventh-grader Justin Chuang, 12, of Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar, earned that honor when he spelled the final word, "mordacious," defined in Webster's Dictionary as, "biting or given to biting."
"It was really nerve-racking," said the champion, after beating out 30 other contenders at the end of 15 rounds of spelling.
"I couldn't have done any of this without my parents and my sister."
Asked whether he planned to start studying for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in late May or early June, Chuang replied, "Maybe today. Out of the frying pan and into the fire."
Chuang's father, David Chuang, said he and his wife, Fallon, were, "The proudest parents in the whole world."
The second place winner was William Widjaja, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, and the third place finisher was 10-year-old Jordin Wang, a fifth-grader at Collegewood Elementary School in Walnut.
The youngest participant in Saturday's bee, 7-year-old Nicholas Sin, who is in the second grade at Vista Grande Elementary School in the Ontario-Montclair School District. He charmed and impressed the audience as he made it through nine rounds, effortlessly spelling words that would befuddle many adults, such as, "lokshen," "virgule," and "staccato."
Each contestant earned a spot in the regional spelling bee by becoming champion of his or her school.
Lennon Cruz is a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Alice M. Ellington Elementary School in Covina, which is part of the Azusa Unified School District.
He passed to the fourth round of competition spelling the words, "fickle," "temporal," and "filibuster," but was cut from the bee when he forgot the letter "p" in the word, "pneumatic."
Cruz said he'd been studying every day for the contest.
"I like that it's very competitive and challenging," he said of the spelling bee.
The event was sponsored by the Diamond Bar Friends of the Library and the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group. Event judges and officials included Diamond Bar City Councilman Steve Tye, Baldwin Park Police Chief Lili Hadsell and Steve Lambert of Gallagher 20/20 consulting, who is also a former editor and publisher of the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group.
Youngsters 14 and under compete in the Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee held in the Sophia Clark Theater at Mt. San Antonio College, Saturday, March 24, 2012. (Correspondent photo by Mike Mullen)
1st Place- 7th grader Justin Chuang (Chaparral), 2nd Place – 8th grader William Widjaja (Suzanne) and 3rd Place – 5th grader Jordin Wang (Collegewood).Justin will represent the Inland Valley and WVUSD at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. The top winners are shown with Diamond Bar City Councilman Ron Everertt who presented trophies and Sherm Griffone, Spelling Bee Co-Director & Master of Ceremonies. (Photo courtesy of the Chuang Family)