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Ripon’s April Yan 2nd in county spelling bee
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From left, April Yan of Ripon Elementary School and Roocha Thatte of Williams Middle School in Tracy were the top finishers in the Junior Division of the San Joaquin County Spelling Bee. Thatte edged out Yan for first place. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT/ The Bulletin

April Yan was braced for an early exit in the San Joaquin County Spelling Bee.

The Ripon Elementary School eighth-grade student had made two previous appearances prior to the 22nd annual county-wide competition held at the Wentworth Educational Services Center.

“I didn’t do too good,” she recalled.

As it turned out, the third time proved to be a charm.

Yan finished runner-up to Roocha Thatte, an eighth grader at  Williams Middle School (Tracy Unified). She successfully spelled ‘ephemeral.’

Thatte and Yan will now represent SJC at the state spelling bee scheduled for the spring in Marin County.

Locally, the Junior Division also included Ryleigh Yodong (August Knodt), Donovan Boyd-Cueno (Sequoia), and Matthew Dolor (Nile Garden) of Manteca Unified; Kenji Bangi (Colony Oak), Colten Marino (Park View), and Charlie Smith (Park View) of Ripon Unified; Cheema Karkirat of River Island Technical Academy; Gabriel Monasterio of St. Anthony’s; and Ruth Visser of Ripon Christian.

In the Elementary Division, Brett Shaw of Colony Oak came close to advancing to the state spelling bee.

The sixth grader finished third, misspelling ‘motif.’

“I was really nervous,” said Shaw, who like most of the participants prepared by studying the spelling bee words.

Rohin Prashanth, who is a fifth-grade student at Wicklund Elementary (Lammersville Unified) took first place, edging out Brookside Elementary (Lincoln Unified) sixth grader Ajay Ishaan by correctly spelling ‘proscenium.’

All three along with James Wilkin of Colony Oak, Charlie Giulian of Ripon Christian, and Prakrit Bharadwaj of River Island, to name a few, were among the 15 who emerged from elimination round just a few days earlier.

They were given words such as ‘schism,’ ‘constituents,’ ‘gravitas,’ and ‘proscenium,” for example.

The fourth- through- sixth- grade students in the Elementary Division had to take to dais and actually spell out the word aloud.

In the Junior Division, the seventh- through- ninth- grade students were provided with booklets and pencils. They had 20 seconds to write out the word and were given three misspells before having to bow out.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail