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Spelling bee champs advance to regional (video)

Feb. 28, 2013 at 2:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2013 at 9:01 p.m.

After battling it out for 18 rounds, Therese Eamiguel, representing Howell Middle School, reacts to winning the Victoria County Spelling Bee. Ryan Ehsan came in second. Both will advance to the regional bee March 19.

A mammoth dictionary sat on the black-clothed table at the Johnson Symposium Center.

Students from across the county sat in 28 maroon plastic chairs facing the spelling bee judges.

One student wearing thick black frames and a dark red cardigan shook his head back and forth, with his hands folded across his chest, waiting anxiously for the competition to begin.

Yes - the auditorium was all the buzz as the Victoria College auditorium filled with parents and supportive teachers and staff Thursday morning for the Victoria County Spelling Bee competition.

Therese Eamiguel, 12, took the title of county champion with the spelling of rubescent, an adjective for reddening or blushing.

"It was a big shocker," Therese said. "A special thanks to Karen Matak, Pamela Edge, Clark Motley, my fifth grade reading teacher Maggie Koch, my fourth grade teacher Natalie Neador and my father, Felix Eamiguel."

Eamiguel and her co-champion Ryan Ehsan, 13, will return to the Johnson Symposium on March 19 for the Regional Spelling Bee competition.

The competition ended after 18 rounds, fewer than years before.

Elisha Hosey-Stewart, 12, a seventh-grader at Cade Middle School, was named the alternate for the two students advancing to regionals.

Winners of the county contest received two books, "Ask Me Anything" and "One Million Things, a Visual Encyclopedia," a ribbon and a Victoria College goodie bags.

The winner of the regional competition will advance to the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C.

Ryan, a seventh-grader at Stroman Middle School, said eighth grade English and reading teacher Vergil Henry and his older brother Evan Ehsan, 15, helped him prepare for the bee.

"Mrs. Henry guided me through the process, and my brother helped me study a little bit this morning online," Ryan said. "My brother found the website to help me study and constantly asked me to spell words for about two hours each day."

Ryan's older brother competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in 2010, the same year Therese was named an alternate for the regional competition when she was in fourth grade.

Ryan's mother, Nusrat Sultana, said she was proud of both of her sons' successes in spelling bee competitions because of their family's international roots.

Sultana and her husband, Dr. Hashimul Ehsan, a biology professor at the University of Houston-Victoria, moved to the United States from Bangladesh about 14 years ago.

"I'm very proud to hear he will go on to regionals," Sultana said. "They study a lot with each other, and I cannot help them with any of it because of my accent."

Bea Eamiguel, Therese's 10-year-old sister, was the youngest competitor on stage before misspelling "predicament."

"I think she did pretty good, for her first time to compete in district," her older sister said. "The odds were in our favor after all."

The winner of the regional competition will be awarded an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

VC, the Victoria Advocate and Region III Education Service Center sponsor the bees each year.



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