Skip to main content

 Alex Wells from Standley Middle School is Spelling Bee Champ

​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 26-28.

“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 before.”

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 families.

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 friends.

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