Student Places in First-Ever FISD Spelling Bee

Jan 15, 2015

A spelling bee can be a humbling experience for spectators, especially when the participants are as bright as students in Frisco ISD.

The District hosted its Inaugural FISD Spelling Bee on January 13 at Heritage High School. More than 30 students in grades 4-8 went head to head in this battle of precision, memory and wit.

Each student won a spelling bee at his or her elementary or middle school to qualify for the contest – a feat in its own right.

After a brief explanation of the rules, the bee began simply enough with the first contestant and the first word, diadem. D-i-a-d-e-m.

One by one, students took their turn at the microphone, correctly spelling words like scintillation, dodecahedron and velociraptor.

Sometimes students would ask for their word to be repeated, used in a sentence or for the definition, alternate pronunciation, part of speech or language of origin.

Several words were entirely unfamiliar to the audience, or at least to this writer, who was baffled, and quite impressed, when students spelled words correctly she’d never heard of, much less knew their meaning or how to spell them.

After five rounds, the field had been narrowed to four contestants, who all spelled each word correctly through the 13th round.

Back and forth, back and forth it went until the judges decided to challenge the students with more difficult words.

By the 15th round, there were only two: Austin Ma of Fowler Middle School and Yogita Manikandon of Clark Middle School.

“It was nerve wracking and I was just scared for the next word,” Manikandon admitted later.

Then Manikandon got her big chance after correctly spelling the word effete (soft or decadent as a result of over refinement of living conditions or laxity of mental or moral discipline). She only needed to spell one more word correctly to be named the winner.

“When he said coacervate, I knew that I knew it so I was really excited,” she said.

Manikandon successfully spelled c-o-a-c-e-r-v-a-t-e, an aggregate of colloidal droplets held together by electrostatic attractive forces, to claim the title.

She and the other top five finishers will advance to the Collin County Spelling Bee, scheduled Wednesday, February 12 at Plano West Senior High School.

The winner of that bee will continue to the regional bee in March.

Congratulations to the following top FISD spellers and all those who participated in the contest:

  • 1st Place: Yogita Manikandon, Clark Middle School
  • 2nd Place: Austin Ma, Fowler Middle School
  • 3rd Place: Brydn Abraham, Wester Middle School
  • 4th Place: Rishika Kanaparthy, Tadlock Elementary
  • 5th Place: Aswin Nair, Pioneer Heritage Middle School
  • 6th Place: Avery Canuteson, Sem Elementary
  • Alternates: Sujit Gurrapu, Vandeventer Middle School; Anna Huff, Griffin Middle School; Payton Barnes, Purefoy Elementary