Spelling champ doesn’t let adolescence stop him

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James Pham of Patton Elementary School is champion of the Garden Grove Unified School District’s 26th annual elementary school spelling bee, correctly spelling the deciding word, adolescence, to become the leading speller among 10,500 fourth-through -sixth graders attending district schools.

James Pham of Patton Elementary School is champion of the Garden Grove Unified School District’s 26th annual elementary school spelling bee, correctly spelling the deciding word, adolescence, to become the leading speller among 10,500 fourth-through -sixth graders attending district schools.

More than 100 parents, teachers, and principals witnessed the competition held March 20 at the Edgar District Meeting Center. James, a sixth-grade Anaheim resident, outspelled 45 other young students to accept an individual plaque and a perpetual trophy for display at his school during the next year. 

James, 12, emerged as the winner following a 26-word spelling dual with eventual contest runner-up Silayan Camson, 11, a sixth-grader from Stanley Elementary School. Both successfully spelled such challenging words as raspberry, delicatessen and xylophone.

Spelling bee contestants were required to pronounce the words, then print their responses on individual whiteboards. A misspelling resulted in immediate elimination from the competition.

All participants had won the spelling competitions at their local schools. For their efforts, all school champions received special certificates presented by Board of Education Vice-President Lan Quoc Nguyen.

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