Macy Intermediate sixth grader Mitchell Saisho out-spelled fellow competitor and Bell Gardens Intermediate student Stephany Morales during the final rounds of a two-hour spelling bee competition held by the Montebello Unified School District on Feb. 22.
Saisho correctly spelled “diligence,” then clinched the win by spelling the bonus word “disengage.”
Saisho and Morales, also a sixth grader, were the last two standing in a field of 46 fourth through sixth grade students from around the district. Each received trophies for their accomplishments.
Saisho is eligible to move on to the Los Angeles county competition on Mar. 28, to be held at Almansor Court in Alhambra. The winner of that competition will represent the county at the state level in April. Morales would serve as the alternate if Saisho is unable to take part in the county competition.
“We would like to congratulate all of the students that competed at our annual District Spelling Bee, especially Mitchell Saisho for emerging as a champion from a very competitive field,” MUSD Board of Education President Hector Chacon said. “We would like to thank all the parents, teachers and staff for the work they put in to make this another huge success.”
During the competition, which was held at Bell Gardens Intermediate, the students kept their nerves in check, remaining calm throughout most of the event, while the audience provided a supportive environment, according to Student and Parent Support Services Coordinator Silvia Krespan, who served as the spelling bee director.
Competitors also displayed a high level of sportsmanship. “There were not too many tears. At the beginning [in the early years the spelling bee was held] there were lots of tears. Now it’s becoming more of a culture… the sportsmanship the children have is very good,” Krespan said.
The annual spelling bee event is organized by the district’s Curriculum and Instructional K-8/English Learner Program. Saisho and Morales will also be honored at the April 5th school board meeting.