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Roncalli STEM Academy scholar Zack Bays After a fourth-place finish in 2022, Roncalli STEM Academy scholar Zack Bays conquered a field of more than 25 of the District’s top spellers to claim the crown in the 46th annual District 60 Middle School Spelling Bee.
With KOAA meteorologist Sam Schrier serving as Master of Ceremonies, spellers from Corwin, Goodnight School, Pueblo Academy of Arts, Heaton, Risley, Roncalli, Ersilia Cruz, and PSAS (Fulton Heights and Jones Campus) tackled a procession of words in front of judges Steve Henson, David Montera, and D60 Board Member Barb Clementi.
Along with Isaac Vigil (PAA) and Amanda Hutchinson (PSAS), Zack earned a spot in the final three by correctly spelling a procession of words presented over the course of four go-arounds.
“Gargantuan,” “phonics,” “venue,” “ferret,” “lumbar,” “centipede,” “osmosis,” “basaltic,” and “laconic” are a sampling of the words culled from the official Scripps-Howard list and presented to the gallery.
After correctly navigating “shoddy” and “mergers” back-to-back in the final test of the evening, Zack was declared the champion, with Amanda earning a second-place finish and Isaac placing third.
The title earns Zack the right to advance to the state-level spelling bee, to be held in Denver in March.
By finishing in the Top Six, Isaac and Amanda – together with 2022 champion Jack Centner and Landen Frison (Corwin) and Macie Monack (PSAS) – will have the opportunity to advance to state by excelling on a written test, to be administered at the school level in the coming weeks.
Zack said the best preparation for the Bee “is to read as many books as you can. I got a small book with a list of spelling words and read it. It was the most boring book I’ve ever read, but I guess it helped.
“It’s also good to spell the word out on your hand or in the air with your finger if you like before you say it.”
The District’s best wordsmiths were welcomed to the Centennial auditorium by Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso, who reiterated the importance of being able to spell well in a world dominated by auto-correct, abbreviated texting and acronyms.
“In this day and age, it’s very easy to lose sight of just how important it is to spell words correctly. Accurate spelling is not only one of the essential components of successful writing, it is the foundation of literacy and comprehension,” the Superintendent told the assembled scholars.
The Bee was organized through the efforts of D60 Literary Specialist Rhonda Holcomb.