County champs prepare for Regional Spelling Bee
March 16, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Updated March 16, 2014 at 10:17 p.m.
Calhoun County Spellers
Stella Grace Motl
School: HJM Elementary School
Parents: Dr. Kenneth and Gay Motl
Other achievements: Student council
Hobbies: 4-H, ballet, tap and hunting
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
Brady Robert Watson
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
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
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
School: Goliad Middle School
Other achievements: Student council and honor classes.
Hobbies: Reading, UIL events, volleyball, baking
Jackson County Spellers
School: Edna Elementary School
Parents: De'Andra Delgado
Other achievements: Likes math
Hobbies: Basketball, football
School: Edna Junior High School
Parents: Anna and George (G.W.) Hessong
Hobbies: Hunting, 4-H, fishing
Lavaca County Spellers
Erica Marie Pavliska
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
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
School: Schorlemmer Elementary
Parents: Lynsey Pittman
Hobbies: Reading, writing
Emma Gene Pratka
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 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."