By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lathrop Elementary sweeps first places
New Haven School eighth grader Kaori West takes a second to think about a word before writing it down during the 7th through 9th Grade district-wide spelling bee conducted Thursday night by the Manteca Unified School District at Lathrop High. - photo by HIME ROMERO

LATHROP – Justin Barber and Elizabeth Terra made it a first-place sweep for Lathrop Elementary School at Thursday’s Manteca Unified School District Spelling Bee.

Barber, who is an eighth-grade student, took the seventh- through ninth- grade division at the annual event held at the Lathrop High Theater Building. He edged out Manteca High freshman Kassandra Diaz and Stella Brockman School seventh-grader James Quiaoit, who took second and third, respectively.

All three whiffed on ‘boutonniere’ in the final round. Barber, however, claimed the top spot by being the only one to correctly spell ‘Fahrenheit.’

“I had looked up the word before and remembered (the placements) of ‘h’ in (the middle of) it,” he said.

Barber was also the repeat Spelling Bee champion from last year, according to Lathrop School teacher Scott Niendorf.

Diaz and Quiaoit had a runoff for second place, with both missing on the word ‘entrepreneur.’ Diaz jotted down ‘repetition’ correctly.

All three advanced to the county-wide competition scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 5, beginning at 3 p.m. at the San Joaquin County Office of Education’s Burwood 1 and 2.

Eighteen students took part in the junior high portion of the MUSD Spelling Bee.  Audrey Greene, who is the principal at Shasta School, served as mistress of ceremonies while Joshua School Principal Bonnie Bennett was the Spell Master.

The panel of judges included Trustee Evelyn Moore, Senior Director of Elementary Education Cheryl Meeker, Stella Brockman School VP Tom Jones, clerk Betty James, Department Supervisor for Elementary Education Laurie DeBoer, Department Supervisor for Student Services Sharon Fang, and Spelling Bee coordinator Tevani Liotard.

As for Terra, she had one strike at the midway point of the fourth- through sixth- grade division competition.

The sixth-grader was incorrect on ‘guarantee’ after hitting on ‘bridge,’ ‘cashew,’ and ‘extinguish.’

Terra then spelled ‘enunciate,’ ‘melancholy,’ ‘masquerade,’ and ‘cornucopia’ correctly. The latter proved to be the clincher.

A year ago, she recalled being ousted in the earlier rounds. “This time I had more time to prepare,” said Terra, who, according to Niendorf, staged a similar-type rally to win the school-wide competition.

She will be joined in the SJCOE on Monday, Dec. 3, in the Burwood 2 room, by MUSD runner-ups Savannah Hudson of McParland School and Wisher Tabaco of George Komure School.

Hudson earned second place by correctly getting right on ‘chrysanthemum.’ She also hit on such words as ‘glitz,’ ‘fluency,’ ‘blithe,’ ‘buoyant,’ ‘gnaw,’ and ‘notorious.’

Tabaco, who took first place in last year’s MUSD Spelling Bee, was correct on spelling ‘frail,’ ‘constraint,’ ‘flagrant,’ ‘caribou,’ and ‘gracious.’

The three emerged from the field of 20 students. Gelil Smith of Great Valley and Benjamin Ruvalcaba of French Camp were the only fourth-grade students in the competition.