Congrats Powell Spelling Bee Winner!

Petworth Library

Congrats Powell Spelling Bee Winner!

Check out this motivated young lady's literacy success secrets and aspirations!

On Friday, Jan. 23, I had the distinct pleasure to be one of three judges for the local Spelling Bee at Powell Bilingual Elementary School, one of Petworth Library’s neighborhood schools.

Sixteen top spellers from Powell's third, fourth and fifth grades earned the opportunity to participate in the Bee as contestants. The atmosphere in the room was electric with nervous and excited energy. Roughly more than 50 of the participants’ classmates and teachers comprised the very enthusiastic and supportive audience.

One by one, each of the contestants were eliminated with a misspelled word to the quiet sounds of “awww” and applause for each speller’s efforts. With so much good cheer in the room, none of the eliminated students seemed upset or teary eyed as they left the stage to join their classmates in the audience.

Eventually standing alone on stage, brave fourth grader Juliana Lopez-Aguilar correctly spelled the word “waddle” (definition: to walk with short steps while moving from side to side…like a duck) and was unanimously pronounced the winner! Juliana received numerous high-fives and hugs from ecstatic friends. Her proud teachers, Mr. Lopez and Ms. Jimenez, came forth to offer congratulations.

Mr. Lopez seized the moment to encourage all the student-spectators that they too should continue studying hard and not be discouraged, especially as second-language learners when things seem a bit hard. He reminded everyone that young Miss Juliana came to the school only one year ago speaking Spanish exclusively. Now, as a fourth grader, she is speaking and spelling in English beautifully and has won her first Spelling Bee!

Juliana and two fifth-grade runners-up (all of whom are pictured below with their teachers and the Bee judges) will continue to study in preparation for the Cluster Schools Spelling Bee featuring the top fourth- and fifth-grade spellers from several local schools within their cluster.

Following the contest, I asked Miss Lopez-Aguilar to what she attributes her success and if she would share her learning goals. Expressive and effervescent, she had much to say "make my best effort, study hard, pay attention to my goals so I can get to them, so when I'm a fifth grader I'll just do my best!"

She mentioned that she enjoys reading and now reads 156 words per minute, but by the end of the year she wants to raise her reading level to a W and read 200 words per minute. On behalf of DC Public Library, I encouraged her to keep up the great work and to stop by our library from time to time for books and programs that interest her. Yippee-Skippy!

To conclude, Petworth Neighborhood Library congratulates Juliana Lopez-Aguilar on a job well done and we hope to have her participate in our upcoming literacy-bolstering library programs! Thank you to Ms. Stoessel, school librarian, and to Ms. Docal, school principal, for welcoming and preparing me as a first time judge on such a wonderful occasion.

-- Tammeric Itson-Scurry ("Ms. Tea")