rounds and a near miss on "hysteria," Rustin Zomorodi, a sixth-grader
from Glenoaks Elementary, came out in first place.
"I feel really good because it's a good achievement," he said. "I
really wanted to win and get [the perpetual trophy] for my school."
Before things got started, Glendale Unified spokesman Vic Pallos
apologized for the cancellation of the May 10 competition, which was
rescheduled after a student claimed she was given a word to spell that
was not on the study list provided to her for the event.
"It wasn't an easy thing for any of us to go through," Pallos said,
adding that steps would be taken to avoid confusion in the future.
That wasn't much of a consolation for Erik Molano.
Among the final four spellers in the first event, the sixth-grader
from R.D. White was eliminated early on Monday when he misspelled the
"I got far last time," said Erik, who kept wiping his reddened eyes.
He said he'd had a tough two weeks, studying about two hours every day
to get ready for the second competition.
His father, Herbert Molano, said he was ambivalent about the
district's decision to reschedule the event. However, he conceded that
school officials had probably done their best under the circumstances.
"It's a letdown because he was coming in with such confidence," Molano
said. "We had to sustain the intensity for two weeks and that's hard for
Zomorodi agreed it was tough to remain energetic during the break.
"I studied a lot so I was getting really sick of it," he said. "I was
ready to just give up."
Zomorodi said his desire to win and bring the spelling bee's perpetual
trophy cup to his campus for a year kept him going.
Leah Chang, a fifth-grader from Mountain Avenue Elementary, gave
Zomorodi a tough run up to Round 20, when "eulogy" tripped her up.
Zomorodi spelled that word and the following one, "mistletoe," to win the
Zomorodi was awarded $50 and was given the trophy cup to take back to
his school. He and the other top five spellers received medals and
The competition was sponsored by the district and Soroptimist
International of Glendale.
The following students placed in the top six spots of the Glendale
Unified School District's Elementary School Spelling Bee Final. Due to a
tie for sixth place, no fifth place student was named.
* First place: Rustin Zomorodi, a sixth-grader at Glenoaks
* Second place: Leah Chang, a fifth-grader at Mountain Avenue
* Third place: Celine Panosian, a sixth-grader at Verdugo Woodlands
* Fourth place: Patricia Nam, a fifth-grader at Muir
* Sixth place: Aira Aguas, a fifth-grader at Jefferson
* Sixth place: Chris Kim, a fifth-grader at Monte Vista
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
The following is a sampling of some of the words used in the 24th
annual Glendale Unified School District's Elementary School Spelling Bee