Bringing back Bee memories

With the help of movies like ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ and the televised broadcast of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the Spelling Bee phenomenon is growing and everyone wants to take a part in it.

I attended Mountain View School District’s second annual District Spelling Bee Thursday afternoon at Madrid Middle School in El Monte.

And even though it’s been over 20 years, it brought back memories of when I was in a district spelling bee in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Back then, it wasn’t as big of a deal as it is now. But I’m glad it has grown since, it’s fun and a way for students to participate in something exciting and educational. I’m glad I was able to take part in something like that at a young age.

Alot of my memories are fuzzy, but I remember winning a spelling bee in my grade level, moving on to the schoolwide contest and then moving on to the next level, which meant I was going to visit another school for the next competition.

I remember feeling excited about something outside of my school, it felt like it was something bigger than me, bigger than the school.

When I saw the students at the competition on Thursday – sitting up there, confused, nervous and anxious, I empathized with them.

I actually did know what they were feeling at that moment.

I remember the butterflies in my tummy when I know my turn was coming up and I’m trying to focus but the hundreds of words I practiced beforehand are getting all mixed up in my brain.

Stepping up to the microphone, trying to drown out the fuzzy noise in my head, as I try to listen to every syllable in the word that is given to me.

Then repeating the word over and over in my head, while at the same time telling myself ‘Don’t mess up. Don’t mess up!’

Then trying not to trip over my dry tongue as I repeat the word without thinking, and attempting to spell it as I keep repeating it in my head, syllable by syllable, to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

And the relief I felt when I didn’t hear ‘incorrect’, so I could keep going to the next round and closer to the grand prize.

But of course, I got my 15 minutes of fame in the spelling bee world, and was eliminated after the fourth or fifth round.

I remember thinking I would never forget that word I misspelled that fateful day years ago.

But I guess it was just too much for me at the time, and things got fuzzy after that, that til this day, I still can’t, for the life of me, remember what the evil word was!

Yes, at the time it was an evil word for me. Just like ‘flippant’ will forever haunt the second place contestant in Thursday’s spelling bee.

The winner will move on to the County Spelling Bee and who knows? Maybe we’ll see Isabella Coita, 10, in the next National Spelling Bee.

As for me, I’ll settle for being a Scrabble queen!

District Spelling Bee

Mountain View School District will hold their second annual district Spelling Bee on Thursday.

Fifth- and sixth-grade spelling bee champions from the district’s schools will compete for the title of District Spelling Bee Champion and represent the district in the Los Angeles County Spelling Bee in mid-March.

The spelling bee will begin at 2:45 p.m. in the cafeteria of Madrid Middle School at 3300 Gilman Road in El Monte.

Come show your support for our local Bees!

Talent Show at BPHS

Who needs American Idol?!

Check out some real raw local talent at Baldwin Park High School’s 2008 Talent Show.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 in the school gymnasium. Cost is $5 pre-sale and $7 at the door.

Baldwin Park High School is located at 3900 N. Puente Ave., (626) 960-5431.

Bassett prepares for proposed budget cuts

With Governor Schwarzenneger’s proposed budget cuts looming over school districts throughout the state, talks of preparing for them have begun in many local valley districts. One of them is Bassett Unified School District which serves a large unincorporated area in Los Angeles County with portions of the City of Industry, La Puente and Whittier.

Though the district is doing well now, if the proposed 10 percent budget cuts go through legislature, the district is expected to be at a deficit within the next two to three years. A public meeting is scheduled next month to discuss options and possibilites if they are faced with these cuts that are expected to continue over the next few years.

The following is from a press release sent on Feb. 8 by Jeff Schenkel, South Coast Media Services, (626) 339-8824, jeffschenkel@verizon.net:

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Local student named to Academic Team

USA Today recently named twenty students to its 19th annual All-USA College Academic Team, honoring them for outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership. The students will receive a $2,500 cash award.

Among the named is Shuai (Steve) Xu, of Diamond Bar who is currently attending Rice University.

The team was selected by a panel of judges from almost 500 students nominated by colleges and universities across the United States. Judges considered grades, leadership, activities and, most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.

Valentine’s Dinner Dance and Comedy Fiesta

The Basketball and Baseball Parent Boosters of Don Bosco High School, along with Latino Comedian Ernie G and his Comedy Fiesta! proudly present the 1st annual Valentines Dinner Dance and Comedy Fiesta, event at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15 inside Tech Hall at Don Bosco, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Don Bosco basketball and baseball programs. The event will feature comedian Ernie G who has performed his “Empowerment Comedian” show at other school events and fundraisers.

A graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Psychology and minor in Chicano Studies, Ernie has performed his own unique form of stand-up comedy he calls “Latino Edu-tainment – Educating and Entertaining with a Latin Flavor” at colleges, universities and schools throughout the country.

The fundraising event will feature Latino comedy favorites Sal Rodriguez and G. Reilly as well as the “Suburban Cowboy” Eric Schwartz with Ernie hosting. 

All ages are welcome, although parental discretion is advised for the PG-13 show. The Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. with the comedy show starting at 8 p.m. and dancing to follow.

Tickets are $35 which includes dinner, show and dancing or $20 for the show only. For more information or for tickets, call (323) 935-4242 or the school at (626) 940-2000.

Mt. SAC news

KSAK 90.1 FM nabs awards

Mt. San Antonio Colleges radio station, 90.1 KSAK FM, recently won four awards for reporting and use of sound at the Radio and Television News Associations annual Golden Mike Awards ceremony held on Jan. 26 at the Universal Hilton in Hollywood.

The station won the Best Sports Reporting and Best Use of Sound Golden Mikes for the Super Bowl and the Alumni feature in Division B for radio stations with fewer than six full-time staff.

Super Bowl and the Alumni is a light-hearted observation on the West Coasts lack of interest in Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears.

The piece showcased audio from the Bears defensive lineman and Mt. SAC alumnus Alfonzo Boone.

KSAK also won Golden Mikes for Best Entertainment Reporting, Division B, and Best Feature News Series Reporting, One Division, for the feature series Silly Songs, Serious Respect on Weird Al Yankovic.

The three-part biography covers Yankovics rise from Southern California nerd to music superstar. In the One Division category, large and small radio stations compete against each other.

The Radio and Television News Association of Southern California annually honors the best in radio and television, ranging from the major networks to college stations.

Mt. SAC to Stage An Evening of Short Original Plays, Under the Gun

The Mt. San Antonio College Theater Program will stage an evening of short original plays, Under the Gun, at 8 p.m. Feb. 14-16 with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Feb. 17 in the Mt. SAC Performing Arts Center Studio Theater.

Under the Gun is a collection of short plays by contemporary American playwrights with unique takes on how people cope with their fears when under pressure.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $9 for seniors and students. Mt. SAC is located at 1100 N. Grand Ave., Walnut.

For tickets and information, call the Mt. SAC Performing Arts Box Office at (909) 468-4050.