County spelling bees: Where learning, practice and nerves collide

March 9, 2018

“Awesome” was not the word Krish Gandhi spelled to clinch a first-place finish at the Sutter County Spelling Bee on Wednesday night in Yuba City. But it was his description of the event, in which he outlasted 48 competitors from across the county.

The fourth-grader from Franklin Elementary School was amongst the field of students from 24 schools to compete in the annual competition that pits brains against a stunning amount of nerves.

“We could not be where we are at if it weren’t for the amazing staff at Franklin (Elementary) School,” said Sima Gandhi, Krish’s mother. “We put in a lot of study time, we practiced our words but they guide us, support us and have been there since kindergarten.”

Sima Gandhi said she would practice for hours with her son, a point that Sutter County Superintendent of Schools Baljinder Dhillon pointed to as being a formula for success.

Dhillon, who acted as the master of ceremonies, said a tremendous amount of work goes into preparation for both kids and parents, which can build a relationship that fosters educational growth.

“I commend them,” Dhillon said of the kids and parents. “They have all worked so hard to do this. This is one of my favorite events because for many kids, this is something you remember for the rest of your life. Even the words they miss, they will never forget that.”

Even at the fourth-grade level, balancing multiple recreational and academic pursuits is a hurdle many of the competitors face.

Amar Gandhi, Krish’s father, said his son is a very competitive kid who competes in baseball, football, wrestling and chess club. Amar Gandhi said he commends his son for having the ability to balance athletics and remain a straight-A student.

Krish Gandhi, who was allowed to skip a wrestling match earlier in the day, brought that same competitive edge in the final round.

After being unable to spell the words “baroque,” “barrage” and “pyrotechnics,” Krish Gandhi correctly spelled “quarrelsome” and clinched it with a word he never practiced, “convergent.”

Trevin Rockenstein of Brittan Elementary in Sutter took second place, while Gurleen Nijjar of Lincoln Elementary in Yuba City finished in third.

‘Loquacious’ the winning word in Colusa County

After 16 rounds, sixth-grader Daisy Medina of Williams Upper Elementary School won Tuesday’s 2018 Colusa County Elementary School Spelling Bee after successfully spelling the word “loquacious.”

Fellow sixth-grader Elena Anderson of Johnson Junior High School in Arbuckle took second place in a field that included 25 students from five schools in the county.

Yuba County Spelling Bee a week away

Students and parents of Yuba County have less than a week to brush up on their vocabulary, as the Yuba County Spelling Bee is slated for next Thursday.

The Elementary Spelling Bee will begin at 6 p.m., with a check-in time for students at 5:30 p.m.

The Junior High Spelling Bee will begin at approximately 7:15 p.m. with a check-in time for students at 6:45 p.m.

Both events will be Thursday at the Caltrans building’s Sierra Nevada Room, 703 B St. in Marysville.

The public is encouraged to attend.

Contact Amy Nore, community engagement liaison at the Yuba County Office of Education, at 749-4854 or by email at amy.nore@yubacoe.k12.ca.us.

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