Manassas Journal Messenger | Students ready for spelling bee

Some of the area’s best middle-school spellers will compete Friday night for the title of county spelling champion at the 28th annual Prince William County Middle School Spelling Bee.

The winner of the local bee, sponsored by the Bel Air Woman’s Club and the Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger, will go on to vie with other national finalists in the 79th Annual Scripps National Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

The county bee will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Godwin Middle School, 14800 Darbydale Ave., Woodbridge.

Sixth- through eighth-grade students who have won their respective bees at 21 public and private schools, including the Department of Defense School at Quantico Marine Corps base and two home schooling associations, will participate.

Most entrants also include an alternate who will compete if the first-place winner is unable to attend.

The local champion will receive a Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged from Merriam-Webster; a $100 savings bond donated by iStar Financial Chief Executive Officer Jay Sugarman in honor of his father, Samuel Louis Sugarman.

The winner will also receive a $20 gift certificate, a $100 savings bond from the Bel Air Woman’s Club, a $50 gift card from Barnes and Noble in memory of Edie Olif Vanover from her family and a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online donated by Encyclopedia Britannica.

Friday’s runner up will receive Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition from Merriam-Webster, a $20 gift certificate, a $25 gift card from Barnes and Noble in memory of Edie Olif Vanover from her family and a one year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online donated by Encyclopedia Britannica.

One other lucky finalist will also received a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online donated by Encyclopedia Britannica.

Every speller will receive a trophy donated by the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger.

The contestants and biographies they submitted follow:

Abinav Venkat, a student at Bull Run Middle School, enjoys skiing, biking and swimming. This is his third visit to the spelling bee and he is confident that he will win this time.

Bull Run has no alternate contestant.

Kevin Yauchi Golden, a Saunders Middle School student, was born in Japan. His mom is Japanese and his dad is American. He enjoys video games and watching TV. He plays the viola and the violin. He is very interested in learning German and Japanese.

Saunders has no alternate contestant.

Taylor Sanford is in the sixth grade at Marstellar Middle School. Her parents are Todd and Christine Sanford and her sister is Delaney. She likes to swim, play soccer, cook and write. She aspires to be a journalist or newspaper editor.

Hannah Porter is the alternate for Marstellar. She is in seventh grade. Her parents are Carl and Hyechong Porter and she has two brothers, Daniel and Matt. Hannah is interested in drawing, video games and music. She aspired to be the president of the United States.

Elizabeth Mullins is in the seventh grade at Quantico Middle School, a Department of Defense School. She is in her fourth year in Quantico schools. She was born in Birmingham, Ala., and has also lived in North Carolina. She is the daughter of a Marine, plays the clarinet in her school band and swims with the Quantico Sharks Swim Team. Elizabeth has one brother and her favorite subject is language arts.

Quantico’s alternate is Liz Mungie, who is in eighth grade. This is her second year is Quantico schools. Liz has traveled extensively. She was born in Virginia Beach, but she also lived in Ohio, California, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. She plays the violin and runs cross-country. She is the daughter of a Marine, has one brother and sister, and her favorite subject is science.

Patrick Lee lives in the Lake Ridge area with his family and is in sixth grade at Mary G. Porter Traditional School. He is a voracious reader, loves words and sometimes writes poetry. One summer he learned to read and write Korean and practices it with his parents. His favorite hobby is creating with Lego pieces. He hopes to become a mechanical engineer. During spring he plays Woodbridge Little League baseball. He also serves as an altar server at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church.

Lindsay Edwards is the Porter school alternate. A sixth-grader, her interests include reading and volleyball. Her true love is Riley, her 1-year-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Lindsay and Riley are training in agility competition. They are also working towards Riley’s certification as a therapy dog. Once completed, Lindsay will be able to take Riley to hospitals, nursing homes and schools, where they will be able to bring lots of happiness.

Rachel Price will represent Fred Lynn Middle School is the daughter of Bob Price. She is 11 years old and is in sixth grade. Rachel loves to read, which is probably why she does pretty well with spelling. When she grows up she wants to be a voice over person for animated movies because it involves a lot of reading.

The Fred Lynn alternate is Wintana Habtu. She is in sixth grade and her favorite subject is Language Arts. Drawing and playing with her friends are some of the things she enjoys. Her favorite movie is “Akleeah and the Bee.” She would like to thank all of the people that helped her study her words for this contest.

Connor McCartney is representing St Francis of Assissi Roman Catholic School. An eighth-grader, his favorite subject is Spanish because he has an aptitude for language. In his free time, he likes to play basketball and football and spend time with his friends.

Emma Berry is the alternate for St. Francis. She is 12 years old and is in the seventh grade. She has been a student there since the fourth grade. In her free time, she likes to figure skate and is working toward her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is in honors math and enjoys reading. When she grows up, she wants to be either an actress or an advice columnist.

Caitlin Caplinger will represent Stonewall Middle School. The seventh-grader participates in student council and likes to do martial arts and to play the piano in her free time.

Alexander Hoffman is the Stonewall alternate. He was an ambassador for the Sudley Elementary School Environmental Program, a member of the Stonewall Middle School Robotics Team, Knowledge Matters Team, Student Council and Occoquan Swim Club. He is fourth chair violinist for the Youth Orchestra of Prince William and team manager for junior varsity basketball.

Allison Doane has attended Prince William County schools since the first grade and represents Godwin Middle School in the Spelling Bee. Her father is in the Army and prior to living in Virginia, Allison’s family, which includes a younger sister, lived in Texas and Germany. Allison is in the IBMYP Program at Godwin but her favorite subject is art. She takes private art lessons and enjoys drawing, hanging out with friends, walking her dog, swimming and reading fiction.

Rontoya Ross is Godwin’s alternate. She is new to the school this year after moving here from Spartanburg, S.C. She has two brothers and one sister. Rontoya’s outgoing personality helped her fit in at Godwin, where she participates in the IBMYP Program and is a member of the cheerleading squad. Her favorite subject is algebra and she enjoys reading biographies, talking on the phone and exercising.

Tashin Anwar is representing Graham Park Middle School. She was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a small country in southern Asia neighboring India. At age 5, she flew to the United States. She readily adapted to her new environment, made many friends and developed various hobbies. Art is one of her favorite activities next to soccer and reading. First grade was when she realized that spelling was something that she was good at. English was always one of her favorite subjects and still is today.

Jenny Rollins is the alternate for Graham Park. No biographical information was submitted for her.

Abigail (Abby) Marchesseault is an eighth grade student representing Seton Roman Catholic School in Old Town Manassas. She was born in Dayton, Ohio, and has lived in four other states. She is the oldest of four children and is grateful to her family for her support. Besides spending time with her family, she also enjoys reading and is a member of the Fairfax Ballet’s Junior Company.

Catherine (Cat) Rogers is the Seton alternate. She is 12 and in seventh grade. Cat is the youngest of five children and enjoys living on a farm in Nokesville. Her hobbies include reading, drawing and playing basketball and softball.

Athman Adiseshan represents Hope Homeschool Group. He wants to be an ethologist, one who studies animal behavior in the wild. Athman is an inventor and enjoys creative problem solving. He is active in sports, public speaking, building Legos and Web sites and loves being outdoors. Athman is enjoying his work at the Smithsonian Research Institute, working on fish biodiversity on the Chesapeake Bay.

Maxwell Miller is the Hope Homeschool Group alternate. He loves to read and is a fan of books by R.K. Mortensen. Last fall he attained rank of green at the Chun Tae Kwon Do Center. Max is learning to play the guitar, enjoys swimming with the Wahoo Swim Club and likes to play video games in his free time. He is a Lego enthusiast and wants to become a builder or an astronaut.

Tara Adiseshan, a 12-year-old animal enthusiast, is representing the Prince William Homeschool Network. Tara has diverse interests ranging from sports, public speaking, books, Web site development and exploring the wilderness. Tara has won several prizes at regional and state levels in science in the environmental science category, and essay writing. She is working on a project on blue crab population on the Chesapeake Bay at the Smithsonian Research Institute.

Henry Clerihue is Prince William Homeschool Group alternate. In addition to memorizing spelling of words of multiple origins, he enjoys writing, math, history and science. He also likes to skate, swim and hike, and he delights in a good story, whether it is on the page or on the screen.

Hailey T. May is the Benton Middle School representative and is the youngest of three daughters of Air Force Col. Dennis May and Teresa May of Manassas. Hailey was born on New Year’s Day in San Antonio, Texas. Hailey is a seventh grader at Benton Middle School, where she is a straight A student. She is second chair clarinet in the Benton Middle School band. Hailey is a member of the Benton track and soccer team and Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Triangle.

Eric McDonald is the Benton Middle School alternate. He is in sixth grade and has lived in Manassas his whole life. His family consists of his mom and dad, his older brother, Alex, and his younger sister, Lindsay. He enjoys many sports, but especially baseball, basketball and swimming. His after-school activities include Chess Club and the Math Counts Team. Soon he will be practicing for the game of 24. His mother says that he is their family’s best speller.

Nilofar Rahmani represents Manassas Park Middle School. She is 13 and enjoys reading, writing and shopping. Her favorite subject is language arts. Nilo would like to attend college and pursue a career in computer engineering following high school.

Bianca Bonilla is the alternate at Manassas Park Middle School. She is 13 and enjoys cheerleading, soccer, movies and food. Her favorite subject in school is language arts. Bianca would like to pursue a career in law or soccer following high school.

Nina Prasad is the winner of the Linton Hall school contest. She is a sixth grader at the Bristow school. She lives with her parents and her dog, Sydney and hopes to work to save animals when she is older. She plays the piano, dances and has traveled to India and Kenya. Nina recently won the Geography Bee in school.

Davis Lee Chu is the Linton Hall alternate. A sixth-grader, he was awarded two principal’s awards over the past semester. He plays the drums and plays on the soccer and basketball teams for his school. He enjoys learning about English and social studies.

Ricardo Feurtado is representing Rippon Middle School. He plays basketball for the Boys and Girls Club of America. He enjoys video games and eating pizza.

Michael Caracciolo is the Rippon alternate. He loves anime and playing video games at home with his twin brother, Tony. He is an avid reader and played county level soccer for a number of years. His favorite sport is Tai Kwan Do.

Biographical information was unavailable for Tyler Winchell who will represent Potomac Middle School; Peter Mulcahy and Michelle Gahagan, the winner and alternate respectively, representing St. Thomas Aquinas Regional School; Kimberly Ababa and Stephanie Williams, the winner and alternate respectively, representing Beville Middle School; and Devante Allen and Jefferson Thompson, the winner and alternate respectively, representing Woodbridge Middle School.

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