Sixth grader Roland Afaga calmly stood at a microphone on the giant stage at Kahilu Theatre in front of nearly 400 very quiet Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School students, teachers, staff and families last week, and despite blinding stage lights and tension you could cut with a knife, he competently spelled the “Champion Word” – “competently” — to win the school’s 2011 Scripps Schoolwide Spelling Bee.
Afaga and runner-up, seventh grader Jack Lunchick Seymore, will represent the school at the District Spelling Bee on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 at Haili Christian School Gym in Hilo. Winners of that District Bee will go on to compete in the state finals in Honolulu.
If for any reason, Afaga and Lunchick Seymore are unable to participate, third place finisher – seventh grader Korie Key – will represent the school at the District finals.
In all, 24 sixth, seventh and eighth grade WMPCCS students – eight from each grade – qualified to compete in the schoolwide Spelling Bee finals.
“These students were very courageous and really stepped up to the challenge,” CEEO/Principal John Colson said.
Finalists in the WMS schoolwide competition included:
* Sixth Graders: Roland Afaga, Giani Balino, Esther Benanua, Kevin Kahananui, Austin Kahoopii, Kieran Lo, Jeren Soriano and Taran Takahashi
* Seventh Graders: Keiko Feliciano, Bodie Glasscock, Korie Key, Kawe Lincoln, Kaylene Lincoln, Jack Lunchick Seymore, Alaynia Preston-Kauhola and Roilyn Tancayo
* Eighth Graders: Alexa Aceret-Kiberato, Cyrene Andaya, Tatyana Badon, Clyde Hagino, Matthew Horne, Cameron Howes, Nicole Kepoo and Laakea Paio
Judges for the Spelling Bee included Pat Rice, Warren Tamaye, Kiki Kihoi and Pristeen Perreira. Pronouncer was Mary Martinson.
The bee was coordinated by the school’s Language Arts Department headed by Mrs. Robertson, with teachers Barbara Haight, Liz Noetzel and Jennifer Fischer.