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Local Student Headed to Regional Spelling Bee

Alexis Block will represent Meadows Elementary School at the L.A. County competition this spring.

Posted: March 4, 2008 6:33 p.m.
Updated: May 5, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Meadows Elementary School hosted its first-ever spelling bee Friday. Alexis Block, a sixth-grader, won first place and a chance to compete in the upcoming Los Angeles County regional spelling bee this spring.

How do you spell "competitiveness?"

For one verbally savvy student at Meadows Elementary School, it could very well be spelled: R-e-g-i-o-n-a-l-s.

Can you use it in a sentence?

For the first time ever, Meadows - a Valencia school honored with Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished School awards - will be competing at a regional spelling bee, at which children driven by competitiveness battle in a popular non-athletic competition.

On Friday, Meadows teachers, students and their parents were abuzz with spelling activity when the school hosted its first-ever spelling bee.

Alexis Block, 12, a sixth-grader, won first place after spelling "hippocampus" correctly. She will the official representative voice of Meadows Elementary School at the upcoming Los Angeles County regional spelling bee this spring.

"I didn't know what it meant, but I thought that it sounded like a creature, like 'hippopotamus,'" Block said after being handed the first-place trophy.

"I am so proud of her," said her mother, Debra, a special-education teacher.

Dani Honeyman, 11, also a sixth-grader, won second place after she started spelling "fraudulent" with an "F-R-O."

Honeyman, who is an avid reader explained after the competition, "I hadn't really used that word before."

And, in third place, also an avid reader in the sixth grade, was Meredith Reeve, 12.

"When I think of the word, I try to kind of imagine it being written on the chalkboard," she said.
The word that caused her trouble was "bandanna."

In all, more than 20 kids at Meadows - a school ringed with parks, just off Orchard Village Drive - competed on Friday.

The school's historic match went 10 rounds to end on "hippocampus," with most kids eliminated early on in the contest.

Teacher Lynn Shafarman organized the event and was pleased with the support it received from students, parents, teachers and even people who had no official connection to it.

"We even had people there who didn't have a family member competing, who just came out to support their friends," she said.


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