The word is champion, c-h-a-m-p-i-o-n
December 2, 2006
Precy McIntire was in a battle Saturday night at the Western Nevada Community College English as a Second Language Spelling Bee. Round after round she remained among the three finalists battling for the title of Spelling Bee Champion.
A native of the Philippines, McIntire began learning English just last April and had already been placed in the advanced category against students who had been studying the language for years.
She made it to the top five, then four, then three, taking the same routine with each word asked of her. Write it down, then quickly spell it.
“The purpose of the competition is to provide incentive for English as a Second Language students,” said Teri Zutter, director of the English as a Second Language program at WNCC.
More than 45 people took part in the fifth annual spelling bee, including participants from Fallon, Gardnerville, Minden, Smith Valley, Dayton and Carson City. The competition was broken down into two categories, intermediate and advanced. The winner from each category received a home computer system and a trophy.
“We are hoping to give the students a challenge and spelling is difficult for native speakers, so it should be challenging,” Zutter said. “Spelling deals with phonics and is the key to unlocking our crazy language.”
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Zutter said the program has a diverse makeup, including people from Japan, the Philippines, Russia and China in addition to Mexico and several Latin American countries.
Before the advanced students took the stage, Sherry Rodrigo, also a native of the Philippines, took top honors in the intermediate category. She first spelled “physical”, then “random” to take the crown.
“I am very happy and I think I did really well to win. None of the words really scared me,” Rodrigo said.
After nearly 30 minutes without an incorrect answer, the three finalists in the advanced category finally faltered, allowing Precy to take the crown by spelling “ecstasy” then “disguise”.
“I’m so happy because some of the audience was my family,” McIntire said. “I have a great teacher in Gardnerville and she has given me a lot of help.”
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.
Winners at the Fifth Annual English as a Second Language Spelling Bee at Western Nevada Community College:
First place: Precy McIntire, originally from the Philippines
Second place: Olga Ortiz, originally from Mexico
Third place: Norma Rincon, originally from Colombia
First place: Sherry Rodrigo, originally from the Philippines
Second place: Marie Seebald, originally from Japan
Third place: Jorge Gaytan, originally from Mexico
To learn more about the ESL program or to become a volunteer, call 445-4451.