Mountain Elementary School Student Alexander Livescu Wins District Spelling Bee

LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus congratulates the LAPS District Spelling Bee winners. Photo by Kateri Morris
Spellers at the District Spelling Bee Tuesday at Chamisa Elementary School. Photo by Kateri Morris
LAPS News:

Eighteen of the best spellers from the Los Alamos Public Schools were at Chamisa Elementary School Tuesday in White Rock for the 2016 District Spelling Bee. 

Over the last several months, these students have been practicing and preparing for this big event, attending word clubs and participating in their individual school bees.

The top three spellers from each of the five elementary schools and Los Alamos Middle School gathered together to find out which one of them would qualify to attend the New Mexico State Spelling Bee in March. 

Spelling Bee winners:

  • First Place Speller and Los Alamos District’s New Mexico Spelling Bee representative is Alexander Livescu, a 5th grader from Mountain Elementary. The winning word was, “cedilla”, which is a mark placed under a letter to indicate a sound different from that which the unmodified character bears in certain or all situations.
  • Second Place Speller and the district alternate to the New Mexico Spelling Bee is Pasha Trudolyubov who is also a 5th grader from Mountain Elementary.
  • Third-Place Speller is William McTeigue, a 7th grader from Los Alamos Middle School.
  • Coming up in a close fourth place is Philip Ionkov, a 6th grader from Aspen Elementary.

The success of every spelling bee depends on its coordinators, pronouncers and judges. This year’s judges were Morris Pongratz, president of the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation, Los Alamos Police Cmdr. Oliver Morris, and Abe Dispennette, owner of a local State Farm Insurance agency and a huge supporter of the schools. The official pronouncer, with many, many years of experience with spelling bees was Judy Crocker, a retired district librarian. 

The district coordinator was LAPS Chief Academic Officer Pam Miller, the recorder and emcee was Debbie Grothaus, a Los Alamos High School teacher and the timer was LAHS school student, Mary Grothaus. Steinhaus, LAPS superintendent cheered on the spellers and congratulated the winners and handed them their trophies. 

Other participating spellers included:

  • Mountain 6th grader Natalija Velisavljevic; 
  • Pinon 5th grader Norah Gartz;
  • Pinon 4th grader Brooke James;
  • Pinon 6th grader Jennie Gao; 
  • Aspen 5th grader Ming Lo;
  • Aspen 6th grader Andy Corliss; 
  • Barranca 5th grader Quinton Geller;
  • Barranca 4th grader John Cawkwell;
  • Barranca 4th grader Cloe Li; 
  • Chamisa 6th grader Kyle Fenimore;
  • Chamisa 5th grader Ravijit Khalsa;
  • Chamisa 4th grader Rosario Dodd;
  • Los Alamos Middle School 8th grader Michael Aslam; and
  • Los Alamos Middle School 8th grader Eli Iramk-Bent.

“Each and every one of these students made the district, their schools, their parents and their community proud,” Steinhaus said. “Los Alamos really does have the best students and Tuesday evening was only one way that they prove it every day!”

Spelling Bees have been in operation across the United States since 1925, with now-famous Scripps sponsorship beginning in 1941. The words used on Tuesday evening were the same official words that are used in district and county bees across the nation. Check out the following website to see what words the students have been studying: