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Walnut valley Unified School District

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Students to spell their way to top

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
March 24, 2013
By Melissa Masatani

The rules are simple, even if the challenge isn't: Spell words that most adults have never even heard of. Do it consistently and more often than your opponents, while standing in the spotlight in front of dozens of strangers. The pressure could crack anyone, but a group of 35 third- through eighth-graders will execute this effortlessly through several rounds at today's Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee.

The local students competed Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College's Clarke Theater. The winner will represent the Inland region at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May.

Hannah Silvestro, a sixth-grader from St. Margaret Mary School won. Madeline Salem, a fifth-grader from Rhodes Elementary came in second. And a seventh-grader from South Pointe Middle School in Diamond Bar, Jonathan Sun, came in third.

More than 100 local schools enrolled in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program last fall. Eligible spellers must be enrolled in a state-approved education system in eighth grade or below and are 14 years old or younger.

Each school selects its own champion, who then was invited to compete in the March 16 first rounds of the sixth annual IVRSB. The winner and a chaperone will be sent to the national competition, with all expenses paid by the Diamond Bar Friends of the Library.

The student finalists represent Ontario-Montclair, Chino Valley, Claremont, Walnut Valley, Baldwin Park, Etiwanda, Pomona, Central (Rancho Cucamonga), Glendora, Alta Loma, Upland, West Covina, Bonita, Fontana and Covina Valley school districts, as well as a student from St. Margaret Mary School in Chino.

The finalists are: Stacy Deng, fifth; Jenny Jeh, eighth; Kenneth Park, sixth; Justin Chuang, eighth; Abigail Duerkson, sixth; Ethan Chang, third; Jaianna Smith, fifth; Jiwon Lee, sixth; Sofia Elise Benigno, third; Sophie Willard-Van Sistine, eighth; Matt Plazola, sixth; Miguel Vazquez, sixth; Mereva Aniceto, eighth; Edward Lee, sixth; Grace Bui Luu, third; Lily Nguyen, seventh; Rebecca Norden-Bright, sixth; Matthew Chidiac, fifth; Andy Vu, fifth; Calvin Ung, fifth; Kelly Pan, seventh; Joseph Fitz, sixth; Gilberto Diaz, fifth; Madeleine Salem, fifth; Lauriana Adriano, fifth; Vivian Tiet, eighth; Jonathan Sun, seventh; Hannah Silvestro, sixth; Brian Zeng, eighth; Nathan Smith, fifth; Jacob Young, eighth; Bianca Aromin, fifth; Eric Nguyen, seventh; Nicolas Sin, third; and Samara Aamer, eighth.

The bee is organized and sponsored by the Diamond Bar Friends of the Library and the San Gabriel Valley News Group, which includes the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Finalists Madeline Salem, a fifth grader from Rhodes Elementary School; Jonathan Sun, a seventh grader from South Pointe Middle School; and Hannah Silvestra, a sixth-grader from St. Margaret Mary Schoo wait to compete in the Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday at Mt. SAC's Clark Theater in Walnut. Hannah won, Madeline placed second, and Jonathan was third.(Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)