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EDUCATION

Eighth-grader spells her way to Scottsdale Unified Bee title

Posted 1/25/24

With 24 spellers, 13 rounds and 88 words, it was 13-year-old Nina Bhatia who emerged as the champion of the Jan. 19 Scottsdale Unified School District Spelling Bee, spelling the word …

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EDUCATION

Eighth-grader spells her way to Scottsdale Unified Bee title

Posted

With 24 spellers, 13 rounds and 88 words, it was 13-year-old Nina Bhatia who emerged as the champion of the Jan. 19 Scottsdale Unified School District Spelling Bee, spelling the word “indemnity” correctly.

Among the words she also had to spell were “megaron,” “coccidiosis” and “innards.” How did the Cocopah Middle School eighth-grader prepare for the 2024 Bee? “For the easier words, I usually just skimmed over them and made sure I practiced them,” said Bhatia.

“For the harder words, though, we had to kind of associate with the picture and also definitions. It took a really long time for the hard words,” she added.

Bhatia credited her mother with helping her study and shared she doesn’t plan to change her approach for the Region II Spelling Bee that SUSD will host at Coronado High School Feb. 9. There, she will be joined by the district bee’s five runners-up: Gabriel Roxas, fifth-grade, Hohokam Elementary School; Dhruv Bansal, sixth-grade, Desert Canyon Middle School; Raquel Charlesworth, eighth-grade, Mountainside Middle School; Jak Boudi, fifth-grade, Hopi Elementary School; and Promise Elhassan, fourth-grade, Yavapai Elementary School.

Bee winners from the Cave Creek, Deer Valley and Paradise Valley Unified School districts, as well as northeast Valley charter, private and homeschools, will also participate in the Region II Bee. The regional bee winner will head to the March 16 Arizona Spelling Bee at the Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix.  The state bee champion will be Arizona’s representative in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be May 26–June 1 in National Harbor, Maryland.

As for Bhatia, she reads more nonfiction than fiction these days. Her favorite fiction author is J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. Her favorite Harry Potter character is Gryffindor’s Hermione Granger, but, she added, “I’m a Slytherin.”

A day earlier, SUSD conducted its second middle school Spanish Spelling Bee. Eighth-graders swept the top three spots.

Echo Canyon School’s Adrián Fernando Alvarado Padilla out-spelled 16 other students, winning with the word “embarazoso.” Cocopah Middle School’s Matias Lagos Pucllas finished in second place; Ingleside Middle School’s Angel Gomez finished third.