Our weekly roundup of Toasts & Roasts:
A toast to Lufkin fourth-grader Aanvi Manda, who won the 2019 Houston Public Media Spelling Bee and is advancing to the 92nd Scripps National competition in Washington, D.C. The Brandon Elementary School student was the youngest competitor to make it to the final rounds, competing against more than 50 other students representing 1,609 Texas schools in multiple grade levels. When the competition got to three students, the other two missed their word. Then Aanvi was given her championship word. “I actually misspelled it,” she said. “It was ulyssean. I put u-l-l-y-s-s-e-a-n. Then they were back in. Then they misspelled again, and I got my word right. When I had a final championship word, which was raclette, then I got that one right.” The state spelling bee was a much larger competition than Aanvi was accustomed to; the national bee will be even larger with more than 500 competitors. She will have to study vocabulary words and take a written 25-word test before the spelling starts. The national competition will be in Washington, D.C., from May 26 to June 1. The finals will be aired live on ESPN. The trip gets even more exciting for Aanvi because her 10th birthday falls during the time she’s in D.C. “I’m so excited,” she said.
A toast to several Lufkin High School STEM 4 students for advancing to the Texas State Science and Engineering Fair after sweeping regionals. This was the first time Lufkin had competed in the Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and 11 students — or five of the seven submitted projects — advanced. Advancing students include: Alishbah Khan, Anisha Rao, Sebastian Gonzales, Janet Mendoza, Rylie Latham, Katlyn Clark, Fernan Chong, Jake Garza, Cade Self, Whit Wesoloski and Alex Munlin. STEM coordinator Suzy Jungmann said the students ‘‘had to dig deep within themselves to accomplish the tasks.” All of these students are seniors in their last year of the STEM Academy, a partnership and cohort program between LHS and SFA, aimed at enriching the high school experience for students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics college study and careers, according to its website. For more information on the STEM Academy, visit lufkinisd.org/departments/1275-2/stem-academy.
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