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MUSD winners advancing to county level
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Winners of the Manteca Unified District-Wide Spelling Bee in the 7-9 Division are, from left, Ryleigh Yodong of August Knodt, Donovan Boyd-Cueno of Sequoia, and Matthew Dolor of Nile Garden. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

S-U-C-C-E-S-S may not have been listed at Thursday’s District-Wide Spelling Bee of the Manteca Unified School District.

But the definition of that word was noticeable on the few who prevailed in the annual event held at Lathrop High.

“I was feeling light headed,” said Donovan Boyd-Cueno in the seventh- through- ninth- grade division after finishing among the top three.

In doing so, the eighth-grade student from Sequoia Elementary School along with four-time district winner Ryleigh Yodong of August Knodt and Matthew Dolor of Nile Garden, both eighth graders, earned their way to compete in the Junior Division of the San Joaquin County Office of Education Spelling Bee in the Wentworth Education Center on Dec. 5.

“This was my fourth try,” Boyd-Cueno said after making it just once to the school level during that time.

He was thrilled to advance the district competition and extremely elated to achieve success at that level.

The field of 19 was nearly whittled nearly in half after just two words – ‘pachyderm’ and ‘therapeutic.’

“I missed ‘pachyderm,’” said Boyd-Cueno, who along with the field was only allowed to miss two words.

From there, he correctly spelled ‘caricature,’ ‘dichotomy,’ ‘espionage,’ ‘marionette,’ and ‘beneficence.’

The fourth- through- sixth- grade Spelling Bee took four rounds for the top three to finally emerged.

Miguel Tornero, who is a fourth-grade student from Brock Elliott, along with Sequoia fifth-grader Johan Arroyo and Walter Woodward fourth-grader Shahab Safi advanced to the county-wide spelling bee on Dec. 3.

The third round was tough for most of the young spellers, who had to annunciate while correctly spell words such as ‘emphatic,’ ‘convoluted,’ ‘hacienda,’ ‘larceny,’ ‘panache,’ ‘trough,’ ‘vestibule,’ ‘reticence,’ ‘subservient,’ ‘receptacle,’ ‘oscillate,’ ‘macabre,’ ‘jaundice,’ ‘malleable,’ and ‘agitation.’

Arroyo correctly spelled ‘crucible’ while Tornero and Safi got it right with ‘whimsical’ and ‘fluctuate,’ respectively.

Joseph Widmer Principal Kathy Brown Snyder once again served as the Spelling Master and Shasta Principal Audrey Parker was Mistress of Ceremony.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail