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Waimea Middle School’s Afaga wins islandwide Spelling Bee

Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School sixth grader Roland Afaga, Jr. (center) is shown with the trophy he won as Hawaii Island’s Middle School Spelling Bee Champion. With him is language arts teacher Barbara Haight and WMS seventh grader Jack Lunchick Seymore, who was WMS’ schoolwide bee runner-up. (Photo courtesy of Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School)

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By spelling 25 words correctly – including the champion word – A-l-l-e-g-o-r-y – at last Saturday’s Hawaii Island District Finals Spelling Bee, Waimea Middle School’s sixth grade student, Roland Afaga Jr. was declared the island’s Champion Middle School Speller for 2012.

As district champion, Afaga will compete in the State Spelling Bee Finals in March in Honolulu.

The title means Afaga out-spelled 27 other middle school students from 14 schools, including students from Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kamehameha Schools, St. Joseph’s and Hualalai Academy.

When asked what it was like, Afaga said: “Scary! You have to be very careful with what you say. If you accidentally get letters mixed up and say the wrong letter out loud, you can’t go back. My mom helped me a lot. I learned to listen for the word and to ask questions if I wasn’t sure. If I made a mistake, we would write it down and practice it over and over.”

A second WMS student – Jack Lunchick Seymore – also participated in the district finals and did very well, only to be stumped by the word, powwow … but that was after correctly spelling difficult words including frivolous, carnage and scythe.

“We are so proud of both Roland and Jack; it’s not easy getting on stage in front of a room full of people and remaining calm and focused. Then, as other students were eliminated, Roland was left standing alone on stage, which would be daunting for many adults, much less a sixth grader,” WMS CEEO/Principal John Colson said.

“We are grateful to our school’s Language Arts Team headed by Leesa Robertson – and to Roland’s Language Arts Teacher Barbara Haight – for the coaching support they provided. Staging a Spelling Bee takes a strong team effort and collaboration.”

The 25 words Afaga spelled at the Hawaii Island Spelling Bee championship:

Desperately
Surrealist
Carbohydrates
Cosmetic
Pragmatic
Renovate
Threshold
Finale
Lithe
Leotard
Spritz
Fiery
Praline
Alfalfa
Quiche
Diatribe
Roughhewn
Isobar
Vendetta
Galleria
Lunatic
Tortoni
Hydraulic
Colloquial
Allegory

One Response to “Waimea Middle School’s Afaga wins islandwide Spelling Bee”

  1. Barbara Haight says:

    You rock roland! Keep it up! Hope you will be successful in the State Finals!

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