2018 Spelling Bee winners

First place: Alex Hooper, grade 2, Bess Maxwell; Kayden Gilley, grade 3, Pine Grove; Marco Gonzalez, grade 4, Redwood; David Perreault, grade 5 Castle Rock; Darcy Glore, grade 6, Mountain; Sage Fletcher, grade 7, Crescent Elk; Sriya Joshi, grade 8, Crescent Elk

Second place: Logan Woods, grade 2, Foursquare; Uriah Lee, grade 3, Smith River; Melinda Vue, grade 4, Joe Hamilton; Ryliegh Bennett, grade 5, Pine Grove; Isabella Garcia, grade 6, Redwood; Landen Watson, grade 7, Crescent Elk; Simone Jacot, grade 8, Castle Rock

Third place: Lucy Garcia, grade 2, Redwood; Jordan Spitzner, grade 3, Redwood; Baylee Dundom, grade 4, Redwood; Ella Crotzer, grade 5, Pine Grove; Lily Sherman, grade 6, Redwood; Raymond Endert, grade 7, Smith River; Tyler Stanley, grade 8, Smith River

Spelling Bee helpers

Facilitator: Deanna Owen, grade 2; Jennifer Thomas, grade 3; Robyn Parker, grade 4; Christina Hartwick, grade 5; Charlene Knowlton, grade 6; Peter Craig, grade 7; Jared Wells, grade 8

Pronouncer: Mary Horn, grade 2; Deja Wakefield, grade 3; Sara Samples, grade 4; Susan McCoy, grade 5; Val Knowlton, grade 6; Amy Ross, grade 7; Megan Slayton, grade 8.

Judge: Kathy Fuson, grade 2; Trish Bruhns, grade 3; Paige Thompson, grade 4.

Sriya Joshi doesn’t remember the word that helped her clinch the eighth-grade portion of the district’s annual spelling bee Wednesday. This, she says, is because she hadn’t missed any words during the bee.

Sriya, an eighth-grader from Crescent Elk Middle School, said she had already been declared the first-place winner while the two runner ups battled each other for second and third.

Sriya has participated in Del Norte County Unified School District spelling bees since she was in 2nd-grade. She placed third when she was in 3rd-grade and first in grades 4 through 8. Sriya says she hasn’t gotten a word wrong in this year’s bee, last year’s bee and probably the bee she participated in when she was a sixth-grader.

“If there’s a complicated word I think of kind of a story for each word to remember if there’s an a before e,” Sriya said. “Last year there was this word, I think baccalaureate, or something, and I remember it being someone ‘bacca-laure-ate’.”

A total of 146 students in grades 2 through 8 qualified for Del Norte County Unified School District’s annual spelling bee, said coordinator William Hartwick, the principal at Pine Grove Elementary School. Each grade is in a separate room and when a facilitator or pronouncer calls out a word, the students offer a written response, Hartwick said.

“Students receive practice books and can practice with any resource they feel would help them out,” Hartwick said. “All word lists are confidential and are kept confidential, so they don’t get the exact word list. They get an opportunity to study words and then they can have any online resource they like to use.”

The words are separated into easy, challenging and extremely challenging categories. To participate in the district-wide spelling bee, students must qualify in their classrooms at school, Hartwick said. Each classroom in the district can have two students participate in the spelling bee, he said, and each school can have two alternates.

“It’s my understanding that Sriya not only has won six (spelling bees) in a row, I’m almost certain she’s never missed a word,” Hartwick said. “I’ve been part of every one of her victories.”

Sriya said she practices about an hour a day every day with her father in the weeks leading up to the spelling bee.

“Me and my dad just sit down and he asks me the words and if I get it wrong then he marks it wrong and I go back and study the words I got wrong,” she said. “Then we do it again until I mastered all the words.”

Since she won the eighth-grade level, Sriya is eligible to compete in the Junior High State Spelling Bee at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael on May 5.

Sriya said she probably will compete in the state spelling bee. She said Hartwick gave her the official website and noted that there are a lot of words.

“Although they do give us a list, the words aren’t guaranteed to be out of that list,” she said. “All the words will come out of the Merriam Webster Dictionary. That’s the thing that stood out to me the most.”

After six years of competing in spelling bees, Sriya says she doesn’t have a favorite word, but there are several that stand out to her.

“Sometimes when I’m reading a book and I’ll see a word and say ‘hey, that word was in the spelling bee,’ and then I’ll just remember it that way,” she said.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .