It’s fitting that Liberty Middle School seventh-grader Mbone Elango won the 2019 Cherry Creek School District Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word “notabilia,” which means “things worthy of attention.” The orthographic prowess demonstrated by Elango and all 180 students who participated in the district bee is definitely worthy of attention.
Close to 1,000 students from every elementary school and nearly every middle school in the Cherry Creek School District took part in the spelling bee process, which began with school-level bees. The top spellers from each school then competed in the district bee, which was held on Jan. 25 at the Student Achievement Resource Center.
The day began with a 15-word vocabulary test and a 35-word written spelling test, which was won by Abigail Lakhani, a fifth-grade student at Pine Ridge Elementary. The next step was the oral spelling contest, a 12-round spelling marathon featuring challenging words like “brachiosaurus,” a type of dinosaur; "effervesce," which means to give off bubbles; and “wentletrap,” a sea snail with a spiral shell.
When all was spelled and done, 20 top spellers had earned the opportunity to represent Cherry Creek Schools at the Colorado State Spelling Bee, which will be held on Saturday, March 16, at Sturm Hall on the University of Denver campus.
First place winner Elango, who has participated in the spelling be since she was in fourth grade, was thrilled to take top honors.
“Spelling is really fun to me because I love reading,” she explained. She has this advice for other students who want to improve their spelling ability. “You get better by reading a lot and writing down words and then looking up the definitions.”
Lance Beale, a fourth-grader from Holly Hills Elementary, earned second place and Utkarsh Mandavilli, an eighth-grader from the Challenge School, won third place.
Congratulations and good luck at state to all of the CCSD Spelling Bee finalists:
• Mbone Elango, seventh-grader, Liberty Middle School
• Lance Beale, fourth-grader, Holly Hills Elementary
• Utkarsh Mandavilli, eighth-grader, Challenge School
• Carly Philpott, eighth-grader, Campus Middle School
• Kyle Cacciavillani, sixth-grader, Liberty Middle School
• Junhee Oh, seventh-grader, Campus Middle School
• Naya Kennedy, sixth-grader, Laredo Middle School
• Kanshita Dam, sixth-grader, Challenge School
• Anishka Sinha, fifth-grader, Greenwood Elementary
• Shreya Rajan, seventh-grader, Thunder Ridge Middle School
• Kayden Eshun, fifth-grader, Antelope Ridge Elementary
• Harini Sundaram, sixth-grader, Infinity Middle School
• Chukwudiebube Nwobodo, sixth-grader, Fox Ridge Middle School
• Snigdha Kumar, eighth-grader, Fox Ridge Middle School
• Yashaswi Sudhanv Balanagu, fourth-grader, Walnut Hills Elementary
• Jenna Kim, sixth-grader, Laredo Middle School
• Banks Billings, fifth-grader, Cherry Hills Village Elementary
• Jonas Cummings, seventh-grader, Horizon Middle School
• Shrihari Asokan, eighth-grader, Liberty Middle School
• Seetha Perianan, fifth-grader, Cottonwood Creek Elementary
The CCSD Spelling Bee is sponsored by the district’s Advanced Academic Services department, which provides programming and support for gifted and advanced learners.