FEBRUARY 18, 2010

Anna Grimaldo books  date with history

By Lito Ilagan

Anna Grimaldo won Joint District 171’s annual spelling bee Feb. 10 and will move on to the Scripps Regional Bee on March 6, 2010. Anna is pictured with other finalists. From left to right they are James Shively, Peck; Jordan Samuels-Clift, Orofino Elementary School; Erin Sellers, Timberline Elementary; Christine Mowery, Timberline Junior High; Kadence Lanier, Cavendish; Frances Grimaldo, Orofino Junior High; Rika Ilagan, OES and Anna Grimaldo, OJHS.

   Fours years ago, when she was barely nine years old, Anna Beatrice Grimaldo captured the hearts and imaginations of our small town by making it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC. For the next three years, Anna, now an eighth grader at Orofino Junior High School dominated the local spelling scene and lorded it over in the Regional Level and thrice represented the region in the nationals.

   Anna asserted herself for the last time Feb. 10 as one of the best spellers of School District 171 by besting seven other kids from Peck Elementary School, Cavendish Elementary School, Orofino Elementary School and Timberline Elementary and Junior High School to emerge as a four-time consecutive spelling champion, a record that will stand for long time at the district level.

   The feat earned Anna her fourth consecutive and last opportunity to represent the school district at the Regional Spelling Bee, which will be held in March. Currently, she holds the distinction of being a three-time consecutive Inland Northwest Spelling Bee Champion and could cement her legacy as one of the region’s best spellers if she triumphs in the March edition of the spelling bee.

   Frances Grimaldo, heir apparent to her sister’s spelling reign and runner-up at both district and regional spelling bees last year, fell in the elimination round. Several notable hopefuls emerged to carry on, one of which is Kadence Lanier from Cavendish Elementary, who placed second to emerge as the district’s next best spelling hope.

   Several promising new faces have also emerged in the recently concluded district bee, namely Erin Sellers and Christine Mowery from Timberline Elementary and Junior High School; James Shively from Peck Elementary School who took third place and Rika Ilagan and Jordan Morales Samuels from Orofino Elementary School.

   With the interest that Anna has generated with her exploits in the spelling bee, a lot of kids now are being hooked into spelling and it would not be a surprise if our school district produces in the very near future a lot more Anna Grimaldos.

   As Anna embarks on her last try at the “Olympics of Words,” she has with her the dreams and aspirations of other young kids whose legs are probably too frail to play soccer, whose height is too short to play basketball or volleyball or whose hands are too weak to throw or hit a baseball or a football.

   Sometimes, the best games you play are those that require more than hand and eye coordination, a skill set that only a few of us are blessed with and are willing to embrace.