Mountain Area spelling champs crowned

Mountain Area elementary school spellers gathered at Coarsegold Elementary School recently to compete in the exciting Eastern Madera County Regional Spelling Bee. Students in Kindergarten through eighth-grade divisions competed to determine Mountain Area champions.

Participating schools included Mountain Home School, Coarsegold Elementary, Oakhurst Elementary, Rivergold, Wasuma, Raymond-Knowles, North Fork, and Spring Valley.

Judges for the competition were Anne Driscoll, owner of Branches Books and Gifts in Oakhurst, and Monica Moulin, Yosemite Unified district trustee.

The Eastern Madera County Regional Spelling Bee began in 1999 and was coordinated by the Coarsegold Elementary School PTA. That initial year 14 Mountain Area schools participated, and the winner represented the Mountain Area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the country’s capitol.

Over the next nine years, the EMC Spelling Bee was organized by the Coarsegold PTA and then Mountain Home School, with the winner going to Washington each year. In 2008, 13-year-old Mountain Home School student Tia Thomas was the EMC Regional winner. She advanced to the National Spelling Bee, placing third.

This year Coarsegold PTA again coordinated the bee with the competition ending at the regional level. The process involves more than the students at the Regional Bee. The bees start out in the individual classrooms of each school with grade level classroom bees, advance to a school spelling bee, and then the schools come together for the Regional Bee, where instead of spelling the words out loud, the students write the words. This helps expand their vocabulary, improve their spelling skills, and improve their reading and writing skills.

“The Spelling Bee is yet another wonderful event to see our Mountain Area students shine academically and have fun,” said Nancy Flynn, a paraeducator in the Coarsegold reading lab, and Spelling Bee committee member. “The event showcases our excellent spellers, and it’s nice to have an event that Mountain Area schools participate in together.”

All the participating schools donated funds to cover the cost of the ribbons, trophies, and refreshments, and each participant received a book donated by Sierra Tel.

The top three spellers in each grade were as follows:


1: Joey Coon - North Fork - winning word: next

2: Michelle Tran - Oakhurst Elementary

3: Wyatt Lawhon - Coarsegold

First grade

1: Kate Trappen - Wasuma -winning word: ditches

2: Mikaila Ruiz - Coarsegold

3: Ella Cohlan - Spring Valley, and Jaydn Benak, Rivergold

Second grade

1: Kenshiro Nagata - Oakhurst Elementary - winning word: cannot

2: Laura DeSilva - North Fork

3: Robert Marmon - Rivergold

Third grade

1: Caleb Mills - Oakhurst Elementary - winning word: reassemble

2: Samuel Miller - Raymond-Knowles

3: Conor Kelly - Spring Valley

Fourth grade

1: Sarah Avent - Mountain Home School - winning word: committee

2: Sonia O'Brien - Rivergold

3: Jane Irion - Wasuma

Fifth grade

1: Jackson Roeder Mountain Home School winning word: forfeit

2: Alison Partin - Rivergold

3: Joshua Grove - North Fork

Sixth grade

1: Emma Hussey - Coarsegold - winning word: inseparable

2: Pasha Pervorse - Rivergold

3: Zac Griffin - Wasuma

Seventh grade

1: Brittany Sultana - Coarsegold - winning word: avalanche

2: Theo Pollard - Wasuma

3: Dimitri Wasem - Raymond-Knowles, and Hannah Wetzel, Spring Valley

Eighth grade

1: Monique Ades - Coarsegold winning word: maintenance

2: Adriana Padilla - Rivergold

3: Ashley Tune - Wasuma

- Coarsegold Elementary School PTA