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Caldwell, Quiaoit earn county Bee titles

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Amelia Ellison of Lodi’s Vinewood Elementary School took second while Ripon Elementary School sixth-grade student Patrick Caldwell took first place in fourth- through sixth- grade division of SJC S...

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POSTED December 5, 2013 1:15 a.m.

STOCKTON – Patrick Caldwell made plans prior to Wednesday’s 17th annual San Joaquin County Spelling Bee on a return trip in the spring to the San Joaquin County Office of Education building.

As it turned out, the Ripon Elementary School youngster will be there for the California State Elementary Spelling Bee on April 26.

Caldwell earned that honor by capturing the fourth- through sixth-grade division by correctly spelling ‘havoc.’

He emerged among the 16 finalists – also included were Caleb Terpstra of Ripon Christian, Sedina Ackuayi of Colony Oak, Rael Carmesis of Mossdale, and Manteca Unified champion Wisher Tabaco of Komure – by going 18 rounds altogether, according to Annie Cunial, SJCOE’s Coordinator of Student Events and Activities.

Included was a 12-round spell-off with runner-up Amelia Ellison of Vinewood Elementary (Lodi Unified).

“I was pretty nervous for him,” said Margaret Caldwell, Patrick’s mom.

Veray Wickham, who is the long-time Spell Master for the event, indicated that this was perhaps the longest-ever Spelling Bee. “I’ve never had one go this long,” she said.

Along the way, Caldwell and Ellison had tough task of trying to spell words such as ‘oxyacetylene,’ ‘seraglio,’ ‘extemporaneous,’ ‘spectroscopy,’ and ‘acetaminophen.’

By contrast, those in the seventh- through ninth- grade division warmed up to words such as ‘ultimatum,’ ‘privy,’ and ‘choreographer.’

“A lot of those words were hard,” said Caldwell of the challenging words given to him.

He’s a sixth grader in Susan Taylor’s classroom.

James Quiaoit of Stella Brockman School and Passa Pungchai of Questa (Lammersville) will represent the county in the California State Junior High Spelling Bee competition at Miller Creek School in San Rafael on May 3.

Pungchai took first place by correctly spelling ‘facetious.’

Quiaoit, who is an eighth grader, was making a return trip to the county event.

“I was proud of him (finishing runner-up),” said James Quiaoit Sr., James’ father. “He not only worked very hard but stayed relaxed during the Spelling Bee.”

Other local participants included Marika Bos of Ripon Christian, Isabella Martinez of Brock Elliott, Andrew Campos of Komure, and Jack Ford and Nathan Rowe of Ripon Elementary.

All told, 42 students from throughout the county qualified for the junior high division.

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