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To bee or not to be

OES spelling winners, holding their winning words are back row from left, fourth grader Elle Stewart and third grader Toni DeVito. Front row from left, second grader June Nagata, first grader Jonaton Ramirez, and kindergartner Ryder Burrell. Not pictured is fifth grade winner Caleb Mills. As winners, these students will participate in the Eastern Madera County Spelling Bee on April 18-19, hosted by Coarsegold Elementary School.
OES spelling winners, holding their winning words are back row from left, fourth grader Elle Stewart and third grader Toni DeVito. Front row from left, second grader June Nagata, first grader Jonaton Ramirez, and kindergartner Ryder Burrell. Not pictured is fifth grade winner Caleb Mills. As winners, these students will participate in the Eastern Madera County Spelling Bee on April 18-19, hosted by Coarsegold Elementary School. Sierra Star

Five-year-old Brixton Miller stood eager and excited, announcing he was pretty sure he was going to win his grade level, proud that he had studied not only kindergarten words, but first grade words, as well.

“I know how to spell ‘cold,’” Miller said. “C-O-L-K.” And then, almost as quickly as the ‘K’ fell from his lips, he self-corrected ... “oh wait, ‘D.’”

Oakhurst Elementary School held a school-wide spelling bee last week to crown winners in each class, kindergarten through fifth. Prior to the competition, the students were given a list of words to study, appropriate for their grade levels.

On the morning of the school’s bee, Proctor Andrea Monsalve, the reading specialist and spelling bee coordinator, gave students a word, which was then used in a sentence. Writing on a small erasable board, some wrote quickly and confidently while others paused picturing the word mentally before taking pen to hand.

Principal Kathleen Murphy and Bilingual Liaison Sandra Luna went around the room making sure students had spelled the word correctly, until just one was left standing from each grade at the end of the day.

Parent Danielle Sims, who has three children attending OES, was there to root for her daughter, kindergartner Penny.

“I think spelling is so important because it makes reading more fun,” Sims said. “There is joy in watching them when a word finally clicks, when you see that light turn on. As a family, we do a lot of talking at the dinner table and having a vocabulary that matches their thoughts is important ... we value that. Lucas (fifth grader) has been in the school spelling bee since he was in kindergarten, and he coached his younger sister this morning, telling Penny he’s been in it every year and has never won so remember to have fun. Good big brotherly advice.”

“Each year, I’m impressed with the words our students can spell, particularly the kindergartners,” Murphy said.

In fact, the kindergartners were so good at spelling that the group easily moved on to first grade words, like “name.” At that point, many were eliminated because of the missing “e.”

Ryder Burrell, who said he really likes spelling words and drawing letters, was ultimately crowned first place at the kindergarten level by correctly spelling the word “cup.”

Along with Burrell, other winners were: Jonaton Ramirez (first grade), June Nagata (second grade), Toni DeVito (third grade), Elle Stewart (fourth grade), and Caleb Mills (fifth grade).

These winners will now move on to the Eastern Madera County Spelling Bee, April 18-19, hosted by Coarsegold Elementary School.

Can you spell “bravo?”

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