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Sisters to compete at county spelling bee

By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:26 p.m.

Therese Eamiguel, of Howell Middle School, left, and her sister, Bea Marie Louise Eamiguel, of De Leon Elementary, sit in front of their piano in their home. The sisters will compete against one another in Thursday's Victoria County Spelling Bee.

A slow, timid smile cracked from the 10-year-old's lips.

Although she had been asked a rather simple question, Bea Eamiguel stood uncomfortably, not knowing what to say.

It's a condition her mother, Evelyn Eamiguel, said has improved over the years.

"For two years, she didn't talk very much at school," the mother said. "But then after some speech therapy and competing in the spelling bee, she's started to get out of her shell."

Therese Eamiguel, 12, sat next to her younger sister, rolling her eyes.

"You don't want to get her talking," Therese said. "After she does, she won't stop."

Bea smiles at her sister, giggling, accepting Therese's friendly taunt.

On Thursday, the sisters will compete against each other at the Victoria County Spelling Bee, co-sponsored by the Victoria Advocate, Victoria College and the Region III Education Service Center.

The co-winners of the county bee will advance to the regional spelling bee. The winner of the regional bee will advance to the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C.

Therese, who advanced from the county to the regional competition last year, said she and her sister spend hours each week studying with their father.

Felix Eamiguel, who used to work as a doctor in the Philippines, decided to put his American medical exams on hold to spend more time with his daughters.

The family moved to Victoria in 2005.

Therese, who speaks Filipino and some Chinese, said her bilingual background has helped her memorize words.

The girls spend time learning how to spell words categorized by their languages of origin.

Aggregate, which is a Latin word, was one of the two words Therese regrets misspelling in one of her past competitions.

Another time, Therese misspelled 'truth,' as 't-r-u-d-e.'

"I get so upset," Therese said. "Especially when it's an easy word."

Bea, whose name is pronounced BAY-AH, said no matter who wins, she'll be happy to see either one of them advance to regionals.

"I'm really happy our parents have supported us all the way with this," Therese said. "May the best sister win."

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