Nicholas Gallegos, a John Hanson Middle School eighth grader, earned the title of top speller at this year’s Charles County Public Schools Spelling Bee held Feb. 19 at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School. Gallegos was named the overall winner at the event after spelling the word “azimuth” correctly during the final round. The Merriam-Webster definition of an azimuth is an arc of the horizon measured between a fixed point and the vertical circle passing through the center of an object usually in astronomy and navigation clockwise from the north point through 360 degrees.
As the overall winner, Gallegos advances to the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee scheduled for May 22-27 in Washington, D.C. He received a trophy and other prizes donated from participating sponsors of the event. In 2015, Gallegos earned second place overall at the county level. The Spelling Bee coaches at Hanson are Natalie Gearhart, an English teacher, and Patricia Hodson, Hanson’s library media specialist.
The second place overall winner was Holli Kobialka, an eighth grader from Southern Maryland Christian Academy.
Teams from each participating school are awarded points based on student performance during each round. The team from Piccowaxen Middle School earned first place for their performance. Members of the team include seventh graders Danielle Auth, Collin Hicks, Courtney Kimble and Jaelyn Sciascia-Penny, and eighth grader Jake Burgess. Coach of the team is Nancy Buter, a language arts teacher at Piccowaxen. As the first-place team, Piccowaxen’s team earned a special plaque to display in the school.
More than 60 students competed in the event. Video footage from the Spelling Bee is posted on the Charles County Public Schools website at http://www.ccboe.com/ccboetv/?videos=2016-charles-county-spelling-bee.
Students from all Charles County public middle schools and county private schools are invited annually to participate in the event. The Spelling Bee is sponsored by Charles County Public Schools, the College of Southern Maryland, the Maryland Independent, Chaney Enterprises, Educational Systems Federal Credit Union and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.