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Hard Work Pays Off for Spelling Bee Winners

Apr 08, 2016 11:16AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Natalie Mollinet | natalie@mycityjournals.com

West Valley - Imagine standing in front of a room full of classmates and friends who are competing in the spelling bee. Through the pressure and the practice, Academy Park Elementary found its three best spellers in the school, fifth-grader Gabriel Vigil, who took third; fifth-grader Brooklyn Walker, who took second; and Andy Tran, a sixth-grader, who took first. 

At Academy Park, each class has its own spelling bee, sending their top three spellers to the grade-level spelling bee. From there, the top three winners in each grade went on to participate in a schoolwide spelling bee. Being the first- and second-place winners, respectively, Andy and Brooklyn will now compete in another spelling bee, competing against students grades 4–8. 

“I’m very proud of the two students who will be continuing on,” Alisha K. Larson, the teacher at Academy Park Elementary who’s over the spelling bee, said. “I’ve had the opportunity to get to know both of them, and I have watched how hard they have worked for this.” 

Brooklyn is a very ambitious fifth-grader already dreaming of becoming a teacher and working hard to learn everything she can. When she’s not in the classroom, she’s drawing. 

Brooklyn worked hard on getting ready for the spelling bee and got some help from her best coach: her parents. 

“My mom and dad helped me prepare,” she said. “I prepared by studying the word list every night.” 

She said she’s excited about her win, and she feels great and so proud of herself. She was nervous standing on stage, but after feeling nervous and excited all at the same time, she’s feeling proud of what she’s accomplished through studying. 

Andy is very much like your typical sixth-grader. He likes to play basketball, watch TV, read and play video games. When he grows up, he wants to become an engineer and is already practicing that trade by building with Legos. 

Andy, however, had to put his mind to the book to prepare for the competition; he said that he prepared for the spelling bee by studying the words and memorizing them every single day. 

“My family helped me by encouraging me when I didn’t feel like studying,” he said. 

A lot like Brooklyn, Andy was nervous at first standing in front of everyone, but he was more worried about messing up and not making it to the final round. 

“Near the end, I felt more confident about myself,” he said. 

Even though Andy may have had to give up his Legos and video games to study for the spelling bee, he’s very proud of the work he put into it and is excited about the outcome. 

“I felt very proud of myself for working hard to win,” he said. “I’m glad I’ve made my family proud.” 

This is actually Andy’s second year winning first place at Academy Park, and he hopes that he’ll do well in regionals this year. 

“These two are such great kids,” Larson said. “I’ve really enjoyed working with them.”  

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