DIAMOND BAR—After an exciting final round, Maple Hill Elementary fourth grader Eric Choi won the Scripps Spelling Bee on January 12.
“I don’t have any words to describe how I feel right now!” the beaming nine-year-old exclaimed after being named grand champion.
During the last 20 minutes of the contest, Choi battled second grader Jon Wong.
Both boys stepped up to the microphone to correctly spell words like pugnacious, castellated, Lilliput, and constabulary.
Many of the nearly 30 words from the nail-biting finale were “never seen before in order to test the spelling skills of the students,” said Principal Kelly Morris.
“They should be commended!” she said.
In December, each first through fifth grade class hosted a spelling bee using official Scripps words.
The classroom champs were then given 500-word study lists to prepare for the finals.
During Thursday’s contest, the grade-level winners were awarded medals, and then went head-to-head for the championship-round.
The school’s top spellers include Justin Tran – 1st, Jon Wong – 2nd, Emily Aldaz – 3rd, Eric Choi – 4th, and Sabrina Lin – 5th.
Choi will represent Maple Hill in March during the Scripps Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee semifinals held at Mt. San Antonio College.
Choi said that reading a lot probably helped him clinch the title.
“My favorite books are the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.”