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Spelling champs to compete in county bee

By Carolina Astrain
Feb. 24, 2014 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 23, 2014 at 8:24 p.m.


IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Victoria County Spelling Bee

• WHEN: 10 a.m. Thursday

• WHERE: Johnson Symposium, Victoria College, 2200 E. Red River St.

• COST: Free, open to the public

Brenner Allen Lemke

Age: 10

Grade: Fifth

School: Aloe Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Born in the eye of Hurricane Claudette

Hobbies: Hunting, archery, baseball, restoration of Coleman lanterns

Parents: Jason and Faith Lemke

Shayla Leann Mesa

Age: 12

Grade: Seventh

School: Bloomington Middle School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Taking pre-AP classes

Hobbies: Reading, listening to music, animals

Parent: Samantha C. Mesa

Jasmine Faith Diaz

Age: 9

Grade: Fourth

School: Bloomington Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: None listed

Hobbies: Dancing, singing and volleyball

Parents: Erica Garcia

Peyton Elizabeth Quimby

Age: 12

Grade: Sixth

School: Cade Middle School

Bee experience: Yes, was a runner-up in third and fifth grade; champion at Vickers Elementary School in fourth grade

Achievements: Fifth Grade Top 5 students

Hobbies: Reading, video games, computers

Parents: Thomas Quimby and Meredith Martinez

Aman Amirali

Age: 11

Grade: Fifth

School: Chandler Elementary School

Bee experience: Chandler Elementary runner-up in 2011-12 school year

Achievements: Placing in the top five the past two years in UIL Spelling.

Hobbies: Pokemon collecting and studying

Parents: Amirali and Shabana Wazirali

Rylan Blake Balderas

Age: 10

Grade: Fifth

School: DeLeon Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Student council class representative, DeLeon kickball team member, UIL participant

Hobbies: Bike riding and crafts

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Rylan Balderas and Mr. and Mrs. Christian Barrios

Kissell Fareed Nava

Age: 9

Grade: Fourth

School: Crain Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: None listed

Hobbies: Soccer

Parents: Israel Nava

Gitanjali Hill Mehan

Age: 11

Grade: Fifth

School: Dudley Elementary School

Bee experience: Dudley Spelling Bee champion in 2012 and 2011

Achievements: Best of show in science fair 2012, 2013

Hobbies: Roller skating and reading

Parents: Janice Hill and Dr. Uppinder Mehan

Alize Rene Gabrielle Velasquez

Age: 11

Grade: Fifth

School: F.W. Gross Elementary School

Bee experience: F.W. Gross spelling bee champion in 2011

Achievements: UIL ready writing - placed first in fifth grade

Hobbies: Reading, collecting purses

Parents: Patty Lamas

Mya Renee Reyes

Age: 10

Grade: Fifth

School: Guadalupe Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: None listed

Hobbies: Drawing

Parents: Lorraine Narvaiz

Julio Garcia

Age: 11

Grade: Fifth

School: Hopkins Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Member of the Tech Club, Hopkins kickball

Hobbies: None listed

Parents: Jasmine Fuentes

Nic Carlos

Age: 12

Grade: Fifth

School: William Wood Elementary School

Bee experience: None listed

Achievements: None listed

Hobbies: None listed

Parents: Anne Mayo

Anne Marie Therese Eamiguel

Age: 13

Grade: Seventh

School: Howell Middle School

Bee experience: 2011 district spelling bee - third place; 2012 co-champion district spelling bee; regional spelling bee - fifth place; 2013 district champion regional bee - third place.

Achievements: A honor roll, delegate to Junior Youth National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., in June 2014

Hobbies: Playing piano, guitar and singing

Parents: Felix and Evelyn Eamiguel

Jacob Wells

Age: 10

Grade: Fifth

School: Mission Valley Elementary School

Bee experience: Runner-up in third grade, served as a county alternate

Achievements: Football trophies, perfect attendance awards and honor roll

Hobbies: Football, video games, TV and computer

Parents: Betsy Ledwig and Bruce Wells

Rosalyn Marie Brysch

Age: 10

Grade: Fourth

School: Nazareth Academy

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Won first place at a local Catholic schools competition in ready writing, altar server, Goliad County 4-H, performs with Theatre Victoria

Hobbies: Bird watching, crafts, martial arts

Parents: Larrie and Brenda Brysch

Rachel Nilsen

Age: 11

Grade: Fourth

School: Northside Baptist School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: None listed

Hobbies: None listed

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Gary Nilsen

Natalie Helen Modrow

Age: 9

Grade: Fourth

School: Nursery Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: A honor roll, Top 10 reader, Top Cat 2012-13, perfect attendance

Hobbies: Softball, reading, cooking and horses

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Modrow

Malachi Foster-Prince

Age: 10

Grade: Fourth

School: O'Connor Elementary School

Bee experience: O'Connor spelling bee runner-up in 2013

Achievements: A honor roll in 2012-13

Hobbies: Baseball (catcher), basketball, running, drawing and reading

Parents: Trisha Foster

Pranan Jain

Age: 12

Grade: Seventh

School: Our Lady of Victory School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Top student in math and science, gold medalist in piano, gold medalist in state music competition

Hobbies: Chess, swimming, science experiments and making robots

Parents: Dr. Arun K. Jain and Naveen Jain

Tiffany Michelle Daughtry

Age: 12

Grade: Seventh

School: Patti Welder Middle School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Fourth-grade and fifth-grade citizenship award

Hobbies: Reading, playing video games, cleaning

Parents: Adam and Shannon Daughtry

Gavin Salinas

Age: 10

Grade: Fourth

School: Rowland Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: An avid kickball player

Hobbies: Reading, playing video games, cleaning

Parents: April Garza and Daniel Barron

Taylar Brooke Rhoden

Age: 9

Grade: Fourth

School: Schorlemmer Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: None listed

Hobbies: Reading and writing

Parents: Lynsey Pittman

Julianna Rosales

Age: 11

Grade: Fifth

School: Smith Elementary School

Bee experience: School champion 2012-13

Achievements: Student council, cheerleading, UIL, Sea Club

Hobbies: Soccer and reading

Parents: Felipe and Valeria Rosales

Ryan Ehsan

Age: 13

Grade: Eighth

School: Stroman Middle School

Bee experience: Regional 2013, 2012 County Bee

Achievements: Plays guitar, piano and drums

Hobbies: Listening to music and chilling

Parents: Dr. Hashimul and Nusrat Ehsan

Vrinda Katarya

Age: 9

Grade: Fourth

School: Trinity Episcopal School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: None listed

Hobbies: Reading

Parents: Alok and Renu Katarya

Kristyn Marie Gaytan

Age: 10

Grade: Fourth

School: Torres Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Early Act First Knight Responsibility award winner

Hobbies: Minecraft, cleaning, playing outside and football

Parents: Christopher and Rebecca Gaytan

Emma Gene Pratka

Age: 11

Grade: Fifth

School: Vickers Elementary School

Bee experience: Vickers 2013 Champion

Achievements: Student council president, first place in Accelerated Reader points in her grade level three years running

Hobbies: Reading, basketball and art

Parents: Dwaine and Amy Prakta

Alexis Marie Limberty

Alexis Marie Limberty

Age: 11

Grade: Fifth

School: Shields Elementary School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: A straight-A student

Hobbies: Violin

Parents: Cheryl Strahler

Braydynne Brown

Age: 6

Grade: First

School: Victoria Christian School

Bee experience: None

Achievements: Highest achiever in phonics reading; very creative, inventive and won the Christmas tree decorating contest

Hobbies: Reading and coloring

Parents: Kendrick Brown and Heather Green

Rosalyn Marie Brysch and Brenner Allen Lemke shook with excitement when they learned they would be competing in the Victoria County Spelling Bee.

"If I had been able to faint, I probably would have," Brenner, 10, said.

Rosalyn, 10, was named the Spelling Bee Champion at Nazareth Academy; Brenner was named the champion at Aloe Elementary School.

"I was shaking," Rosalyn said. "I don't know how to explain it, but I was just so happy."

Twenty-nine Victoria County students, ranging from third to eighth grade, will go head-to-head Thursday at the Victoria County Spelling Bee.

"It was a pretty good feeling advancing because I had tried to win every year that I could compete," said Brenner, whose winning word was "premier."

Rosalyn, who won with the word "bazooka," said she practiced by using an audio recording application on her iPad.

"I pause it before I get to the word spelling, and then I spell it out loud," said Rosalyn, who sometimes practices with her mother.

Susan Prukop, Victoria College development director, said about a fourth of the participants are returning victors.

Champion words from the past include "excoriate" and "quittance," Prukop said.

Cindy Buchholz, Victoria College dean of arts, humanities and social sciences, is the pronouncer assigned to the competition.

"She's been the pronouncer for several years," Prukop said.

Preparing for the Victoria County Spelling Bee has expanded her vocabulary, Rosalyn said.

"I wish everybody the best of the luck," Rosalyn said.

Brenner said he is nervous but that he's also confident about his spelling ability.

"You have some hard competition coming your way," said Brenner to his fellow contestants.

Prizes include gift cards to Hastings, ribbons and contest certificates, Prukop said.

The top two spellers from the Victoria County Spelling Bee will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee on March 18 at Johnson Symposium.

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