By Mary O’KEEFE
“Dunsmore rocks!” That is the way sixth grader Amy Lim introduced herself and the school she is from at this year’s Glendale Unified School District Spelling Bee.
That enthusiasm and school spirit, along with many, many hours of studying, is what won Amy first place at the competition.
“We are very proud of her. And she is the first one to win for Dunsmore,” said Principal Karen Stegman.
Stegman and her staff combed through records and discovered that for the first time Dunsmore’s name will be added to the district Spelling Bee plaque.
So how does Amy feel after hours and hours of study, facing the best spellers in the district and coming home with not only the first place honor but as the first student to win for Dunsmore Elementary?
“I feel relieved its over,” she said.
Spelling Bees are not easy. In addition to regular homework, which can be daunting, students must spend many nights and weekends studying the list of suggested words they receive from the district. The first step is to win at their local school. Those winners move on to the district level. On the night of the competition they meet their competitors for the first time. Then they stand at a microphone in front of a room overflowing with students’ families and have to concentrate on each word.
“I was nervous at first. The day of the [Spelling Bee] my stomach hurt,” Amy said.
Amy won with the word “vortex.”
“When I won I was in complete shock,” she said.
But after all the studying and nerves she came back to school to the cheers of her fellow classmates and teachers.
“My teacher was pretty happy the day after I won. He said he is going to get a T-shirt that reads, ‘My student won the Spelling Bee’,” Amy said.
Amy said her teacher, Michael McGrath, helped her before the competition by teaching her a trick for spelling ‘translucent.’
“He used mnemonics to help me spell visually. He said to imagine a window and look out to see pennies, which is cents. To remember the end of the word is cents without the ‘s’,” Amy said.
She was given the word, translucent, and used her teacher’s method.
Amy is an artist and visualizes her words. To study she would write them on a piece of paper over and over again. On the day of the competition she would trace the word on her hand, visualize it and spell it. The method worked.
“We are getting some recognition,” said Stegman of the spelling fame. “When we get the [engraved] plaque we will be honoring Amy again at a Friday ceremony. It’s exciting.”
After all is said and done Amy still likes to spell.
“I think I will [compete] in Rosemont [Middle School’s] spelling bee next year.”