Jonathan Pearce, a student in Mrs. Nix's fourth grade class, was named the champion of the bee in the 13th round. It was an impressive feat as so many of the students continued to spell challenging words such as psychoanalysis correctly, forcing the judges to turn to extra words in the hunt for a winner. Angelina Padua, a student in Mrs. Sharp's third grade class, was named the runner-up. Students competing were in third through fifth grades and the words were from third to nine grade levels.
The Walnut Grove Spelling Bee returned this year after taking a hiatus for the past few years. Pearce will go on to compete in the regional bee, sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle and part of the Scripps National Spelling Bee Feb. 20.