County champs prepare for Regional Spelling Bee

  • Calhoun County Spellers

  • Stella Grace Motl

  • Age: 9

    Grade: Third

    School: HJM Elementary School

    Parents: Dr. Kenneth and Gay Motl

    Other achievements: Student council

    Hobbies: 4-H, ballet, tap and hunting

  • Anthony Liu

  • Age: 11

    Grade: Sixth

    School: Travis Middle School

    Parents: George Liu and Amy Lin

    Other achievements: Plays piano, violin and saxophone

    Hobbies: video games

    2012 HJM Spelling Bee winner

  • DeWittCounty Spellers

  • Brady Robert Watson

  • Age: 11

    Grade: Sixth

    School: Cuero Intermediate

    Parents: Trent and Jami Watson

    Other achievements: Student council president, placed first and second in UIL Number Sense for five years

    Hobbies: Soccer, basketball, playing piano, singing and acting, raising hogs for 4-H

    ...
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  • Brady Robert Watson

    Age: 11

    Grade: Sixth

    School: Cuero Intermediate

    Parents: Trent and Jami Watson

    Other achievements: Student council president, placed first and second in UIL Number Sense for five years

    Hobbies: Soccer, basketball, playing piano, singing and acting, raising hogs for 4-H

    School bee winner 2012, 2013, 2014; DeWitt County bee winner 2012, 2013, 2014; attended regional bee 2012, 2013.

  • Muriel Margaret Cotman

  • Age: 13

    Grade: Seventh

    School: The Acorn School

    Parents: The Rev. Bill and Tessa Cotman

    Other achievements: Earned the Girl Scout Junior Bronze Award and the Girl Scout Cadet Silver Award. In addition to her home state of Texas, Muriel ...

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  • Muriel Margaret Cotman

    Age: 13

    Grade: Seventh

    School: The Acorn School

    Parents: The Rev. Bill and Tessa Cotman

    Other achievements: Earned the Girl Scout Junior Bronze Award and the Girl Scout Cadet Silver Award. In addition to her home state of Texas, Muriel has lived in Wyoming and New York state.

    Hobbies: Playing the piano

    DeWitt County spelling bee alternate, 2013.

  • Goliad County Spellers

  • Mason Urban Towery

  • Age: 11

    Grade: Sixth

    School: Goliad Intermediate School

    Parents: Dr. Layne and Sherill Towery

    Other achievements: Involved in 4-H rifle project and is first-chair trombone in the GIS band

    Hobbies: Hunting and fishing, remote control cars

  • Felicia Marie Aguayo

  • Age: 12

    Grade: Seventh

    School: Goliad Middle School

    Other achievements: Student council and honor classes.

    Hobbies: Reading, UIL events, volleyball, baking

  • Jackson County Spellers

  • Christopher Robinson

  • Age: 9

    Grade: Third

    School: Edna Elementary School

    Parents: De'Andra Delgado

    Other achievements: Likes math

    Hobbies: Basketball, football

  • Jason Hessong

  • Age: 11

    Grade: Sixth

    School: Edna Junior High School

    Parents: Anna and George (G.W.) Hessong

    Hobbies: Hunting, 4-H, fishing

  • Lavaca County Spellers

  • Erica Marie Pavliska

  • Age: 13

    Grade: Eighth

    School: Sacred Heart Catholic School

    Parents: Chuck and Cheryl Pavliska

    Other achievements: National Junior Honor Society, honor roll, 2014 Geography Bee champion

    Hobbies: Reading, drawing, running, animals, cheerleading, baking

  • Weston Cole Appelt

  • Age: 10

    Grade: Fifth

    School: Hallettsville Junior High

    Parents: Jason and Carmen Appelt

    Other achievements: Orange belt in Tae Kwan Do, student council and an A student

    Hobbies: Playing "Minecraft," Tae Kwan Do, hunting

    School spelling bee, 2012-13 champion

  • Victoria County Spellers

  • Taylar Brooke Rhoden

  • Age: 10

    Grade: Fourth

    School: Schorlemmer Elementary

    Parents: Lynsey Pittman

    Hobbies: Reading, writing

  • Emma Gene Pratka

  • Age: 11

    Grade: Fifth

    School: Vickers Elementary School

    Parents: Dwaine and Amy Pratka

    Other achievements: Won the 2013 Vickers Spelling Bee, student council president, first place in accelerated reader points in her grade level three years running.

    Hobbies: Reading, basketball, ...

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  • Emma Gene Pratka

    Age: 11

    Grade: Fifth

    School: Vickers Elementary School

    Parents: Dwaine and Amy Pratka

    Other achievements: Won the 2013 Vickers Spelling Bee, student council president, first place in accelerated reader points in her grade level three years running.

    Hobbies: Reading, basketball, art

    Vickers Elementary 2013 champion

  • IF YOU GO

  • WHAT: Regional spelling bee

    • WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday

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

    • COST: Free, open to the public

  • Prizes for regional spelling bee winners:

  • The regional spelling bee champion receives an all-expenses-paid trip sponsored by the Victoria Advocate to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

    • First place: One Samuel Louis Sugarman Award Certificate donated by Jay Sugarman; one-year membership to Britannica Online ...

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  • Prizes for regional spelling bee winners:

    The regional spelling bee champion receives an all-expenses-paid trip sponsored by the Victoria Advocate to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

    • First place: One Samuel Louis Sugarman Award Certificate donated by Jay Sugarman; one-year membership to Britannica Online Premium donated by Encyclopedia Britannica; Webster's Third New International Dictionary

    • Second place: A Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, donated by Merriam-Webster

The regional spelling bee will draw 12 co-champions from six Crossroads counties to the Johnson Symposium stage Tuesday evening.

Anthony Liu, 11, a Travis Middle School sixth-grader, started competing in the spelling bee as a third-grader.

"My brother won the county bee, and he went to Victoria one time three years ago," Anthony said. "I wanted to get to Victoria, too, so I started studying."

Anthony reads all the words in his study packet to his mother, Amy Lin, and she reads them back to him using a computer as an aide for pronunciation.

"Three years ago, when my oldest son went to Victoria, he lost on the word 'cruller' because the pronouncer said it differently than he had been learning it," Lin said. "So this time, I've been very careful by using the computer."

Anthony is excited about making it to the regional spelling bee competition in Victoria for the first time.

"I'm really excited," Anthony said. "I might lose; I might win."

Last year, Anthony was the Calhoun County alternate for the regional spelling bee, his mother said.

The week of the spelling bee will be a busy one for Anthony, said his mother, because he's also participating in a mathematics competition called Mathcounts.

"He wants to win the spelling bee for us because every summer we go back to Taiwan, but this year, we probably won't go back," Lin said. "If he wins the spelling bee, he said we can go to Boston and D.C. instead of Taiwan - so we're counting on him."

His mother said, joking, if he doesn't win, they'll be going to New Hampshire to visit a family friend instead.

"I've been telling him to take it easy," Lin said. "I don't want to put too much pressure on him."