Student: Experience key at spelling bee

Ryan Lengerich

It just might be Jonathan Proctor’s year.
The 13-year-old home-schooled eighth grader is representing the Clovis Area Home Educators in his third trip to the regional spelling bee Saturday at Clovis Community College.
The winner will receive a trip to Washington to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“The first time I got 10th, the second time I got fifth. So I think experience really does matter,” Jonathan said. “I kind of promised my mom I would go to Washington, but you never really know.”
Jonathan said he defeated about 10 other home-schooled students to advance to regional competition. While his favorite subject is math, Jonathan said he has been competing in spelling bees since fourth grade when spelling became a hobby.
Jonathan is one of 36 spellers to compete at the regional spelling bee sponsored by Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Winners of area school spelling bees qualify to participate in Saturday’s event.
Returning to competition is defending regional champion Michael Martinez, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Tucumcari Middle School. Michael was knocked out in the first round of last year’s national bee. He said the key to victory is staying positive.
“Well, you’re just thinking, ‘Wow, I might just have a chance to win this thing,” Michael said. “I am going to be nervous naturally, but I am not really the type of kid that gets too nervous.”
Michael said watching the spellers at last year’s national competition was helpful. He said French words give him the most trouble.
“It is just the accent and how they sound and how they are pronounced,” Martinez said. “Some of them sound nothing like they are spelled.”
Words are chosen at random for the spellers. Competitors are eliminated after misspelling any word. To win the competition, one of the final two spellers must correctly spell the word misspelled by their competitor, plus another word.
Texico Junior High student Brett Anderson is making his first appearance in the regional spelling bee.
“I think I am looking forward, but I am a little nervous about going,” the 13-year-old said. “I haven’t studied yet because I forget the words if I study too far ahead of time.”
Last year’s national spelling bee champion, Sai R. Gunturi, was a home-schooled eighth grader from Dallas. Sai won the title with the word “pococurante,” meaning indifferent or apathetic.
Jonathan said being home-schooled does not make him a good speller or give him an advantage — but experience does.
“Actually, I think it all comes down to who studies,” Jonathan said.

Having a spell
What: Regional Spelling Bee
Where: Clovis Community College Town Hall
When: 9 a.m.

• • •

Freedom Newspapers Regional Spelling Bee
First Place Representatives
Saturday at Clovis Community College Town Hall

School • Student • Grade

Amistad Charter School • Brandon Miller • 5th

Barry Elementary School • Colin Welsh • 6th

Bella Vista Elementary School • Crystal Trujillo • 6th

Cameo Elementary School • Daynan Romero • 6th

Clovis Area Home Educators • Jonathan Proctor • 8th

Clovis Christian Elementary School • James Martin • 5th

Clovis Christian Secondary School • Andrew Neikirk • 8th

Des Moines Elementary School • Michael Quigley • 5th

Dora Municipal Schools • Kelsi King • 6th

Faith Triumphant Christian School • Amber Reshea Kelly • 6th

Floyd Elementary School • Trever Nuckols • 5th

Floyd Middle School • Chay Chenault • 7th

Gattis Junior High School • Kirsten Sharp • 8th

Grady Elementary School • Jimmy Lampley • 6th

Grady Middle School • Joli Lindsey • 7th

Highland Elementary School • Deshane White • 6th

House Elementary School • Quay Hampton • 3rd

House Middle School • Lisa Chesher • 7th

James Bickley Elementary School • Toby Messier • 6th

La Casita Elementary School • Gabrielle Segura • 4th

Lincoln Jackson Arts Academy • Chloe Williamson • 3rd

Lindsey Middle School • Brandon Lidy • 6th

Lockwood Elementary School • A.J. Chairez • 4th

Logan Municipal Schools • Tess Williams • 7th

Marshall Junior High School • Timothy Sena • 7th

Melrose Elementary School • Turner Ham • 4th

Melrose Junior High School • Allison Strohm • 7th

Mesa Elementary School • Elisabeth Rebman • 6th

Parkview Elementary School • Martha Rivas • 6th

Ranchvale Elementary School • Jonathan Winstead • 6th

Sandia Elementary School • Ashley Chavez • 6th

Texico Junior High School • Brett Anderson • 7th

Tucumcari Middle School • Michael Martinez • 8th

Valencia Elementary School • Ryan Wood • 5th

Yucca Junior High School • Zach Gillooly • 7th

Zia Elementary School • Grace Hostler • 6th