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2024 Regional Spelling Bee

Feb 26, 2024 03:23PM ● By Kelsey Swire
The 2024 CBS Lake Charles Regional Spelling Bee was Saturday, February 17th at Southlake Theater in Lake Charles. Meet this year's champion, Paranika Ethakota, a third grader from T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School! She will travel to Washington, D.C. in May to represent SWLA at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

This year 21 schools from all across SWLA competed for the chance at nationals. (Find a complete list of schools below) These students worked hard to study and prepare for different levels of competition, starting at the school level. Once a school held their spelling bee, their champion was registered for the regional level of competition. All students that made it to the regional bee left with a trophy to display at their school and share with their peers.

The following officials presided over the competition:
Pronouncer- Russ Silvers
Head Judge- Nicole MacNamara, Pupil Appraisal for Calcasieu Parish School Board
Judge- Christa Bell, Assistant Department Head of Mass Communications at McNeese
Judge- Lisa Guerrero, Executive System Director of Marketing & Communications at Lake Charles Memorial Health System
Record Keeper- Amy Ballard, Home School Teacher

Success in school-level spelling bees is usually tied to memorization of a list of several hundred words. Beyond that level, success is about application of language concepts and patterns to correctly spell and one of more than 470,000 words in the Bee's official reference, Merriam-Webster Unabridged.

The format for the regional competition was a traditional spelldown, meaning each of the spellers received one word per round. The students were reminded that the pronunciation of a word is only one clue to understanding the word they were given. The definition, etymology, the part of speech, and the illustrative sentence should also be used to help them to understand the word. Ultimately, it was their responsibility to make sure they understood the word they were given.

Here's a list of all 21 schools and students that participated in the regional spelling bee:
Cornerstone Christian Academy- Branson Von Colln
DeRidder Junior High School- Seeley Smith
East Beauregard Elementary School- Jase Joiner
East Beauregard High School- Wyatt Guillory
F.K. White Middle School- Ariel Dennis
Hamilton Christian Academy- Cooper Yoes
Johnson Bayou High School- Aidyn Russell
Lake Charles Charter Academy- Chloe Manuel
Leblanc Middle School- Drew Couvillon
Life Christian Academy- Celia Cooper
Maplewood Elementary School- Adam Khan
Maplewood Middle School- Molly Chenault
Merryville High School- Keegan Cryer
Oak Park Middle School- Alex Shotwell
Our Lady Immaculate School- Campbell LeBlanc
Pine Wood Elementary School- Ariana McFatter
Singer High School- Landri Sandifer
South Beauregard High School- Tristan Lavergne
South Beauregard Upper Elementary School- Maliah Barron
Southwest Louisiana Charter School- Genesis LeBlanc
T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School- Paranika Ethakota

A HUGE thank you to our sponsors for making this year's event possible: