Hickam Elementary students ‘abuzz’ with success at spelling bee

From left, Alisa Bender, principal, Chelisea Fernandez, (second place) sixth grade, Taryn Long, (first place) fourth grade, and John Erickson, complex area superintendent for Central District South, attend the district spelling bee. Photo courtesy of Hickam Elementary School

From left, Alisa Bender, principal, Chelisea Fernandez, (second place) sixth grade, Taryn Long, (first place) fourth grade, and John Erickson, complex area superintendent for Central District South, attend the district spelling bee. Photo courtesy of Hickam Elementary School

Hickam Elementary School

On April 1, two Hickam Elementary School students will challenge other students from public and private schools to take home the title of Hawaii Spelling Bee champion.

“I’m a little nervous because (the state bee) will be on TV and so many people will be watching,” said fourth grade student Taryn Long. “I’m excited since it’s the first year of doing a spelling bee,” she said. Long added that she decided to participate just for the experience.

Long and sixth grade student Chelisea Fernandez took home first and second place respectively at the Central District Spelling Bee held Feb. 5.

They competed against older students, since competitors ranged from fourth grade to eighth grade. In the final round, Fernandez misspelled “epidrill” and Long spelled “tarantula” to become champion.

To prepare, Long has been studying every day after school and during her free time. She studies words found on spelling-bee.com.

“My mom quizzes me every night, 36 words a day,” Long said.

Long and Fernandez attend Hickam Elementary School, which is on Manzelman Circle at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Hickam Elementary School received recognition status, which is the highest on the Hawaii STRIVE HI reports, for three years in a row since the STRIVE HI inception.

It remains a military-impacted school with a current enrollment of 558 students. To address the diversity of students, the school remains committed to ensuring programs like physical education, music, gifted and talented, STEM and technology.

“We were proud of our students’ bravery and skills, and mostly how they represented our school and community in the district competition,” said Alisa Bender, principal of Hickam Elementary. “We’re looking forward to both of them competing in the states,” she said.

Bender urged people to attend the state bee on April 1 at New Hope Auditorium on Sand Island Road, to support Hickam Elementary students.

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Category: News