By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Dozens of studious students in first through fifth grade gathered at Palisades Charter High School on Sunday, February 23, for the annual Pacific Palisades Spelling Bee.
This year’s event was made possible with the support of Pali High—including the Pali Ambassadors—Café Vida, Untitled No. 1 School and Groza Learning Center, who worked as busy as bees to prepare the wordlist for the event.
Guests were welcomed with treats from Hello Honey, CinqueTerre WEST and K Bakery, as well as coffee from Starbucks.
As the day progressed, it became clear that these young scholars meant strict business.
The first half of the event called for Palisades’ first and second graders, who were asked to spell a series of 30 words for the written portion before moving on to round two.
Students made their way to Gilbert Hall to hear which 10 students from each grade would be called to the stage as finalists for the oral portion of the competition.
Principal Suzanne Duffy of Corpus Christi School introduced the first set of judges, Alison Rockwell and Nancy Bollinger of St. Matthew’s School, and Tim Schneider of Schneider Publishing as the word pronouncer.
After a brief overview of the rules, the competition began, with words you wouldn’t bee-lieve.
Each student was given a total of five words and had 45 seconds to spell each word they were provided, with words like “venomous” and “contribute.”
In first grade, Darcy Adair from Palisades Charter Elementary School took third place, Ram Chopra from Pali Elementary took second place and Olivia Lam from Marquez Charter Elementary School finished in first.
For the second-grade competition, Julian Meyers from Pali Elementary took third place, Eli Buonocore from Canyon Charter Elementary School came in second and Jordan Miller from Kenter Canyon Elementary School took home first.
Later that afternoon, the school buzzed with a new set of competitors. This time, students from third, fourth and fifth grade gathered for the event.
Again, students went through a written exam before moving onto the oral competition.
This time, Katie Easton from Corpus Christi School was a judge, while Alan Smolinisky took on the role of word pronouncer.
Tatyana Yukhtman from Groza Learning Center kicked off the competition with a few words of encouragement.
“It’s not easy to be here, it’s not easy to get through all of these words … to have the strength and to have the willingness to do well and to be here, I am so, so proud of you,” Yukhtman said. “Please know you are all winners.”
Third grade competitors were challenged to difficult words like “irrevocable” and “phenomenon,” while fourth and fifth graders were stumped with “kinesiology” and “brouhaha.”
Those who placed in third grade were Tate Gilman from Corpus Christi School in third, John Thomas Dye School’s Lucas Merrill in second and Axel Van Leeuwen from Canyon in first.
The final three in fourth grade were Jack Dorfman from Pali Elementary in third place, Jaya Srinivasan from Pali Elementary in second and Yun Kim from Calvary Christian School in first.
After a re-tallying of points in fifth grade, Hanna Shin from Calvary Christian School and Ella Rich from Pali Elementary tied for first place.
Closely behind came Ella Temple in second and Hal Craig in third—both students at Village School.
After retrieving their trophies, taking a few photos with the adored Pali Bee and closing remarks from the Post, all the Palisades’ scholars headed home to prepare for next year’s competition.