“Flashback. The movie stared with a flashback of the character’s childhood.” The student at the microphone leaned forward, carefully pronouncing each letter. Deb Arancibia, the spell master for the CCUSD district wide Sixth Annual Spelling Bee smiled and confirmed “Correct! Well done.” Another speller came forward to the microphone, and a fresh cloud of anxiety settled onto the stage. Flashback might be just what they experience, years from now, when they hear the words Spelling Bee. The hopeful postures, the confident smiles, and the sincere drop of the shoulders at the sound of the word “Correct,” all portend that the evening is one that may stay with our students for many years.
From the cavernous darkness of the Robert Frost Auditorium on Jan. 31 ,the winners from each school in the Culver City District were brought together for the annual bee. Each elementary school, and the middle school, sent their sharpest spellers to compete, and all the kids did an admirable job.
After six rounds, the three finalists, all of whom would be named as winners, were all boys from the Middle School; Faheem Chunara, Mattthew Chen and last year’s First Place winner, Simon Johnson. After “forlorn” had been misspelled by Chen and then spelled correctly by by the next Johnson, it was down to the end with “Pizzeria,” and a final round of applause.
Johnson will advance to the County Spelling Bee, where he will once again have the chance to make Culver City P-R-O-U-D. All the competitors did a great job, and even without software, proved that being able to spell well is a skill worth savoring.
Anna Hebert, Simon’s 3rd grade teacher at El Marino deserves special appreciation here, because she noticed Simon’s potential, and went out of her way to give him special challenges and foster a love of spelling and reading before anyone else.
Thank you Mrs. Hebert and all the amazing Culver City teachers who make a world of difference every day, and for a lifetime to our kids!!