Fairmont Student Wins OC Spelling Bee for Second Consecutive Year

For the second year in a row, Fairmont Historic Anaheim 8th grader Winston Z. has captured the Orange County Spelling Bee title and is on his way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, March 3, Winston found himself in a very familiar spot: as one of the final contenders in the county’s annual competition. Though it was a rather exhausting feat — 29 rounds total, the last 22 of those between Winston and the second-place finisher from Irvine Intermediate School in Garden Grove — Winston finally captured the victory by spelling the word teff correctly after his rival had misspelled the word given to her. And this came after spelling words such as bobbejaan, zeitgeber, and schadenfreude!

“It was really important to me that I won again because I felt like there was an expectation for me to do well this year,” Winston said. “I’m really relieved that I could fulfill that.”

The Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place Sunday, May 27, through Friday, June 1, which gives Winston plenty of time to prepare and continue the study regime he began as he geared up for the county contest. He spends at least 30 minutes to an hour or more each day reviewing the study booklet he was provided and reading the dictionary. Additionally, his dad quizzes him on various words to help him think on his feet.

At last year’s national competition, Winston made it to the semifinal round before being eliminated. He hopes to be more successful at this year’s event. He also recently qualified for the National Geographic Geography Bee state finals in Fresno, California.

Though the atmosphere of educational bees can be filled with stress and anxiety, Winston manages to remain calm — after all, he knows he is using his strengths in a way he enjoys.

“I’m really competitive, so it’s nice to compete against other students,” he said. “I like the challenge.”

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”