Laurel Bay, S.C. --
A tree or bush that grows in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico and that has a hard wood which is often used in grilling food because of the special flavor produced by its smoke.
This is the definition of the word that gave eighth-grader Xavier Richardson the lead and led to him winning the 2014 Bolden Elementary/Middle School Spelling Bee aboard Laurel Bay, Feb. 20.
Richardson, along with Summer Ciaccio, also an eighth-grader at Bolden Elementary/ Middle School, competed for more than an hour going through lists of spelling words ranging in difficulty to claim the throne at Bolden Elementary/Middle School.
"The spelling bee is a district wide program for grades fourth through eighth," said Marcy Haught, Bolden’s reading specialist, who also assisted in coordinating the school’s spelling bee.
According to Haught, students competed in classroom spelling bees before moving on to the school-wide bee.
"The spelling bee is another way to showcase our school vision of increasing student performance by inspiring curiosity and the love of learning in all students," said Haught. "Teachers are enthusiastic about presenting the words and electing their classroom participants."
Richardson previously proved the importance of proper spelling and writing as he competed in and won the school’s spelling bee two years ago as a sixth-grade student. Richardson went on to win the district-wide spelling bee, consisting of students from South Carolina, Georgia and Cuba Department of Defense Education Activity schools, with the words "fictitious" and "dinghy."
"Writing and spelling improves people’s skills," said Richardson, son of Katherine Richardson, a contract specialist at the regional contracting office aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. "I wrote the words down a lot. I would read the word then write it down, a lot."
The students’ success in spelling was a testament of the determination they put into practicing spelling and pronunciations. One parent at the spelling bee compared it to other competitive activities stating that the amount of effort and practice that is put into sports and other activities is reflected in these students who work hard spelling correctly in the contest.
"When I pulled the classroom contestants together I told them that they have worked very hard to get to this point, and it’s like the Olympics," said Haught. "You can see it in their faces that they have put in a lot of hard work and effort. You can see the excitement in their faces when they recite the words correctly. As a teacher it’s so good to see students with that motivation."
One of the long time purposes behind the spelling bee has been to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.
For Richardson, who is now waiting for his second district-wide spelling bee competition, which will take place in April, he is well on the way to pursuing his desire to become a writer.
The word, by the way, is mesquite. M-E-S-Q-U-I-T-E, mesquite.