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Latisha Anne De Jesus is NMI’s top speller

OLEAI Elementary School fifth grader Latisha Anne L. De Jesus won the state-level Spelling Bee after 42 rounds, besting 29 other students at the multi-purpose center on Saturday.

Her winning word was “savvy.”

De Jesus said it was her third time to take part in the competition, but she did not win in the past. “I now feel happy because all the people I know are proud of me.”

She said she studied very hard for this year’s competition. “Our coach made us practice orally and then she made us write on the board and on paper, then we again went over the words.”

Oleai teacher and coach June Seman said she was nervous as De Jesus approached the championship round. She said she trained De Jesus and eventual third placer Dereck Rangamar after school.

“They stayed back and just went over the words. It was hard at first but they got used to it,” Seman said.

In the final round, De Jesus battled it out with Diego Metran, a fifth grader from Garapan Elementary School.

Suaad Y. San Nicolas, Spelling Bee coordinator and language arts program coordinator of curriculum and instructional services, said the committee “ran out of words.”

She said it was the first time that the state-level Spelling Bee went on and on for so many rounds.

“Both finalists studied the 2018 lists — by heart and by memory. In order to break the tie, we had to get another list of words,” San Nicolas said, adding they used a list from two years ago.

“I think it is a good experience because it teaches them to further expand their knowledge and learn more words to spell,” she added.

According to San Nicolas, De Jesus will represent the CNMI in the regional competition on Guam on March 3. Metran will be the alternate. “In case De Jesus is not able to participate, Metran will represent the CNMI.”

San Nicolas said the annual event is sponsored by the Public School System to increase the literacy skills of its students.

“They get to know the origins of words and how to spell them which also helps increase their vocabulary and their language skills.”

This year’s 30 participants from third to eighth grades were very competitive, San Nicolas said.

“I could see that they were tense and serious. Some of them used all the tips that were given to them to keep advancing through the rounds which was pretty amazing.”

The students who participated in the 2018 Spelling Bee were:

Garapan Elementary School

James Thorson, 3rd Grade

Diego Metran, 5th Grade

Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School

Selina Villena, 4th Grade

Chit Moe, 5th Grade

Kagman Elementary School

Charles Baybay, 4th Grade

Cassandra Fernandez, 5th Grade

Koblerville Elementary School

Auriella Feger, 4th Grade

Nicole Sundiam, 5th Grade

Oleai Elementary School

Dereck Rangamar, 5th Grade

Latisha Anne L. De Jesus, 5th Grade

San Vicente Elementary School

Edreanne Joyce Corrales, 3rd Grade

Sinapalo Elementary School

Omari Joab, 5th Grade

Ashley Cayabyab, 5th Grade

Glenn Gabril Valdezco, 5th Grade

Tinian Elementary School

Juris Gian Cabarles, 3rd Grade

Clarize Rodriguez, 6th Grade

William S. Reyes Elementary School

Lhouanne Sison, 4th Grade

Jenaya Cheng, 5th Grade

Hopwood Middle School

Mary Grace Caras, 7th Grade

Kristina Achas, 8th Grade

Chacha Oceanview Middle School

Mariessa Babauta, 6th Grade

Kiku Tudela, 7th Grade

Dandan Middle School

Elicia Cabrera, 7th Grade

Juliet Inocencio, 8th Grade

Francisco M. Sablan Middle School

Janis Taitano, 7th Grade

Maria Ayuyu, 8th Grade

Tanapag Middle School

Rabeya Akter, 6th Grade

Soomaitah Ferdous, 6th Grade

Tinian Jr. High School

Leirha Erich D. Manalo, 7th Grade

Angela Joy Santos Esteban, 8th Grade

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101835-latisha-anne-de-jesus-is-nmi-s-top-speller

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