After a long and nerve-wrecking competition, 8th grader Alex Wells from
Standley Middle School in University City has won the 2009 San Diego
Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee.
The 13-year-old Wells spelled the winning word, “Nominative,” meaning:
bearing the name of a specific person and will now proceed to the
Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., scheduled for May
“I was very nervous towards the end of the competition,” said Wells.
“The words seemed to keep getting harder, so it was assuring to get the
word “nominative” for my winning word, since I’ve used it a few times
The 40th annual competition began with 89 7th and 8th grade students
from public and private schools throughout San Diego County. The final
two contestants, Wells and Benjamin Moscona from Carmel Valley Middle
School, battled through over ten rounds before the winning word.
During the championship round each contestant was required to spell two
words correctly in order to win. In addition to “nominative,” Wells’
other word in the championship round was “chaplain,” meaning an
individual ordained or consecrated for religious ministry, specially
trained to offer support, prayer, and spiritual guidance to patients and
The spelling bee was held March 10 at the Old Town Theatre in San Diego.
Runner up Moscona, a 7th grader from the San Dieguito Union High
District, was pleased and relieved by his performance. “I studied really
hard for two weeks prior to today’s competition,” said Moscona. “Being
that English is my second language I thought I did pretty good.”
Laurie Wells, proud mother of the new champion, was thrilled after the
competition. “There were so many talented students here today, it was
great to see them be able to spell such difficult words. I’m extremely
proud of Alex. Ever since he was about 16 months old he has been
interested in reading and spelling.”
Wells said he did not study much for the competition. “I studied for
today’s competition last night,” said Wells. “I’ve always been pretty
good at spelling and I love to read, so I figured that would be enough. I
think D.C. will be a great experience for me, and I plan on studying
much more for that competition.”
During his spare time Wells enjoys writing (?) classical music, playing
the bassoon, clarinet, and piano, and also playing basketball with
The Countywide Spelling Bee is coordinated by the San Diego Union
Tribune and the San Diego County Office of Education. For more
information on the Bee go to www.sdcoe.net/sb.