When it came to spelling the championship word, Redfield Elementary School fifth grader Omkar Bharath didn’t blink.
“Ontological. O-n-t-o-l-o-g-i-c-a-l. Ontological.”
With that, Omkar successfully defended his Scottsdale Unified School District Spelling Bee title on Friday, Jan. 19, out-spelling 23 other school spelling bee winners for the third year in a row.
Omkar says he used a different approach to studying for the spelling bee this time around.
“I did a little every day, but as the Spelling Bee got closer, I did more and more,” he explained in a prepared statement. “If you work really hard and make sure to take breaks, it’s not all about intense pressure.”
Joining Omkar at the Region II Spelling Bee on Feb. 23 in Cave Creek are the five runners-up in today’s spelling competition. They are:
- Max Greenspan, 6th grade, Cocopah Middle School;
- Jiatian Yin, 8th grade, Cheyenne Traditional School;
- Gabriella Tadio, 8th grade, Desert Canyon Middle School;
- Victoria Bourgeois-Conti, 5th grade, Hopi Elementary School; and
- Kelly Ciardullo, 5th grade, Anasazi Elementary School.
The SUSD Spelling Bee was held at Arcadia High School, according to a press release.
The trio of Omkar, Max and Jiatian battled it out for 10 rounds at the end, spelling such words as schnauzer, piccolo, gulden and umlaut before reaching the 20th round, when only Omkar and Max remained. Three words later, the Redfield student stood alone.
“In these days of automatic spellcheckers, it’s rewarding to see proof that our students are reading, writing, articulating and expanding their vocabularies,” Sheryl Rednor, SUSD executive director of teaching and learning, said in a prepared statement. “I’m so proud of the work happening in SUSD.”