Rendell Rod Lucena, Pryor MS, Wins OCSD Spelling Bee

Accoutrement, epizootic, maunder, stethoscope.  These are just some of the words participants were asked to spell during the Okaloosa County School District’s Spelling Bee, and the student’s made them look simple.  Thirty-four students, grades fourth through eighth, qualified to participate by winning a Spelling Bee at their school. 

After an hour and a half and at least 20 rounds, Rendell Rod Lucena, a Pryor Middle School student, won the Spelling Bee by spelling “guitar and ambiguity” correctly. 

“I thought it was thrilling,” said Rendell.  “I thought I was going to lose because one word, one letter, one misspelled letter, and I would be out.”

Lucena will represent Okaloosa County when he travels to Tallahassee next month to participate in the Big Bend Spelling Bee.  If he wins, he will continue on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

Teertho Bhattacharya, Plew Elementary School, placed second, and Isaiah Wilson, Shalimar Elementary School, placed third.

When asked how he prepared for the Spelling Bee, Isaiah said, “I studied a lot!  I studied for about two weeks.”

Even though participants were given a packet of words to study, Teertho still thought the Spelling Bee was hard.

Spellers could ask the pronouncer to say the word again, define it, use it in a sentence, provide a part of speech, provide the language(s) of origin, and/or provide an alternate pronunciation.

“I am extremely proud of all our students who participated in their school’s Spelling Bee, and those who have continued on to the next level,” said Superintendent of Schools, Mary Beth Jackson.  “It takes great courage to stand before a group of people and participate in a Spelling Bee.  In my book, all of the students who participated are winners!”

“In Okaloosa County, we are fortunate to have a community who values education,” said Marcus Chambers, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum.  “Tonight’s Spelling Bee is an indication of this.  Each student here exemplifies the hard work and dedication that we expect of our students in Okaloosa County.  I applaud each student for your efforts in representing your individual school and family in an amazing way.”

Congratulations to all of our participants and school champions:

Balasubramanian, Kavin - Meigs
Bassett, Cole - Florosa
Belser, Kameran - Edwins
Bhattacharya, Teertho - Plew
Bohler, Jazmine - Kenwood
Boston, Katie - Shalimar
Braswell, Chase - Bob Sikes
Brown, Ryan - Davidson
Brown, Seth - Bob Sikes
Capeheart, Nikia - Pryor
Clendennin, Owen - Riverside
Coachman, Ty’Darius - Mary Esther
Dalton, Ava - Kenwood
Gilani, Armaan - Antioch
Harrison, Jackson - Walker
Hass, George - Meigs
Haught, Will - Destin MS
Heflin, Parker - Destin MS
Hutchinson, Mallory - Walker
Lucena, Rendell Rod  - Pryor
Koch, Megan - STEMM
Martin, Raymond - Plew
McLain, David - Northwood
Messer, Jewels - Mary Esther
Phipps, Alex - STEMM
Rath, Lily - Riverside
Robinson, Walker - Edwins
Rosario, Mariah - Antioch
Schmidt, Marcella - Bluewater
Smith, Caleb - Florosa
Taylor, Hannah - Bluewater
Vance, Dalamar - Davidson
Wilber, Cooper - Northwood
Wilson, Isaiah - Shalimar

Judges were Joe Peterson, Assistant Principal of Fort Walton Beach High School, Lynn Prevatte, Instructional Specialist, and Dr. Cheryl Seals, Curriculum Specialist.  Pronouncer was Claudia Hess, Choctawhatchee High School.

Special thanks go to Bay Area Awards, Cracker Barrel Crestview; Arby’s Crestview; Shoal River Bowling; Chick-fil-A Fort Walton Beach, Corner Café Fort Walton Beach, and Accent Signs. 

Click here to see the photographs taken by Nick Tomecek for the Northwest Florida Daily News.