NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
April 27, 2012 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204
Walnut Valley Board Honors Spelling Bee Winners
WALNUT, CA— The Board of Trustees honored the three top winners of the Inland Valley Spelling Bee during the meeting held on April 25.
Chaparral eighth- grader Justin Chuang, age 12, won 1st Place at the competition held on March 21. The 2nd Place winner was William Widjaja, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Suzanne Middle School, and the 3rd Place finisher was 10-year-old Jordin Wang, a fifth-grader at Collegewood Elementary.
Spelling champion Justin Chuang won the competition’s Grand Prize – a trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee held May 27-June 1.
He won after 15 rounds of competition when he spelled the final word, "mordacious," defined in Webster's Dictionary as, "biting or given to biting.” Thirty-one students from grades two to eight competed in the competition held at the Sophia Clarke Theater at Mt. San Antonio College.
Justin said he practiced every day since September using a software program called SpellQuizzer that allowed him to spell the words on the computer.
“It was astonishing when I realized that I had won the competition!” he said.
“I didn’t think I could beat William (Widjaja), because whatever words they threw at him, he could spell them,” he added.
Justin brought his Grand Prize award to the Board Meeting on April 25. The impressive three-foot tall award has been proudly displayed on the family’s kitchen table (the only place big enough) since the competition.
“It’s the biggest trophy I’ve ever seen!” Justin said. He presented the coveted award to Principal Ron Thibodeaux to now be displayed in the school’s trophy case.
“We’re very proud to have Justin as a Cougar!” Thibodeaux said. The school has sent students two out of the last three years to the national competition. He also recognized English teacher Pa Gonzalo who has helped work with the students before the competitions.
“You cannot mention the successes of our students without mentioning their parents. Justin’s parents have been instrumental in his success,” Thibodeaux said.
Justin is now busy preparing for the national competition. Good Luck!
Suzanne Principal Les Ojeda described 2nd Place winner William Widjaja as “an ideal Suzanne student”. He plays the viola in the orchestra, won awards in the Science Olympiad, MathCounts, and Mt. SAC Relays. He has had a 4.0 G.P.A. all three years and is a California Junior Scholarship Foundation Member.
“We are very proud of him!” he said.
This was Collegewood’s first year participating in the Spelling Bee and it is amazing that we have a 5th grader that not only competed with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, but finished third!” said Principal Carolyn Wills.
“He was class champion, our school champion, and then won 3rd Place in the regionals. This is a fabulous accomplishment for Jordin!” she said.
“The Board of Trustees is proud to congratulate these top-spelling Walnut Valley students!” said Board Member Nancy Lyons.
We are especially excited that Justin Chuang will represent the Inland Valley at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The Trustees will be cheering for Justin at every level beginning with Round One on May 29, she said.
The Diamond Bar Friends of the Library sponsored the Inland Valley contest and will fund Justin's trip to Washington D.C., said Lyons, a past president of the organization, said Lyons, a past president of the organization.
Three Walnut Valley students were honored for winning the top awards in the Inland Valley Spelling Bee held on March 21. Chaparral eighth- grader Justin Chuang, age 12, won 1st Place at the competition and qualified to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Shown with Board Member Nancy Lyons and Principal Ron Thibodeaux.
The Inland Valley Spelling Bee’s 3rd Place finisher Jordin Wang, a fifth-grader at Collegewood Elementary was honored at the April 25 Board Meeting. Shown with Board Member Nancy Lyons and Principal Carolyn Wills.
Spelling champ Justin Chuang presented the Grand Prize award to Principal Ron Thibodeaux the school for display case.
The 2nd Place winner in the Inland Valley Spelling Bee was Suzanne Middle School eighth-grader William Widjaja. Shown with Board Member Nancy Lyons and Principal Les Ojeda.