Hart Student Wins County Spelling Bee

    Hart seventh-grader Neethi Bangalore annihilated her competition at the Alameda County Spelling Bee to win the title of top speller for the second year in a row.

    The second-place speller from Castro Valley incorrectly spelled “annihilation,” leaving the door wide open for Neethi to breeze into the first-place spot. Neethi spelled that word correctly and went on to correctly spell “effervescence” to take top honors.

    “I’m excited,” Neethi said of her win. “I’ve been practicing a long time.”

    The county competition was held last Saturday at Cal State, East Bay in Hayward. Thirty-one students from Pleasanton, Livermore, Castro Valley, Hayward and Oakland competed. The junior high-level contest was open to students in seventh, eighth and ninth grades, but no ninth-graders took part.

    “At the beginning, I was kind of nervous,” Neethi admitted. “But after I went through a few rounds, I realized I knew most of the words.”

    The nail-biting competition lasted two hours. Amazingly, three of the top winners are from Pleasanton. The second-place winner is from Castro Valley, but third- and fourth-place honors were won by students at, respectively, Harvest Park and Pleasanton middle schools.

    Neethi won “a huge trophy,” her mom boasted, and an even bigger trophy with Neethi’s name engraved on it will be displayed at Hart for an entire year.

    “Oh my gosh, I am a proud mom!” Lakshmi Bangalore exclaimed. “I sit with her every day for at least a few minutes, and we practice spelling.”

    Neethi walked away with top honors at last year’s county competition. As a sixth-grader last year, she competed in the elementary spelling bee. She advanced to the state level and came in second place.

    This is the first year Alameda County has sponsored a spelling bee at the junior high level. Neethi will once again advance to the state contest, held May 10 in San Rafael.

    Neethi will continue to practice words from the national spelling bee web site and word lists from other spelling bees.

    Congratulations to Neethi for her second first-place win!

    Congratulations also go to seventh-grader Nishanth Palanisamy, who advanced to the county level after winning Hart’s geography bee. Nishanth performed quite well on the written test, but did not qualify for the state contest.

    Way to go, Neethi and Nishanth!


Posted March 18, 2008