One by one, students methodically spelled words like “trellis,” “apparatus,” “privatim” and “suet.”
But on this day of phonetic feats and etymological excellence spanning more than three hours, it was Jason Khan of McAuliffe Middle School in the Los Alamitos Unified School District who would be crowned C-H-A-M-P. In round 28, he correctly sequenced the letters in “ankh” — it’s a symbol like a cross with a loop at the top — to win the Orange County Spelling Bee.
And he’s not done. Jason will travel to Washington, D.C. in late May to represent Orange County at the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Travel expenses will be paid by the Orange County Register, which sponsored the county contest along with the Orange County Department of Education.
Following last year’s online competition, the 2022 county bee took place in person at OCDE’s Costa Mesa campus on Saturday morning, drawing more than two dozen stellar spellers in grades six, seven and eight.
Rachel Park from John O. Tynes Elementary in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District placed second after going head-to-head with Jason for nine rounds, and Alyssa Tran from Fairmont Private School’s Historic Anaheim Campus took third place. Each student took home a trophy and a cash award.
Earlier in the week, 94 spellers who won their school or district spelling bees gathered at OCDE to take a 25-question written test on spelling and vocabulary. The top 26 spellers from Monday night were invited to participate in the final oral round.
This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee will air during primetime June 1 and June 2 on ION, Bounce and Laff. Actor, director and lifelong children’s literacy advocate LeVar Burton is set to host the renowned event.