By Peter Gilman, corps member on the Sony Team at John Liechty Middle School

Practices began early for the Spelling Bee Semi-Final at John Liechty Middle School.  Hours upon hours went into learning several hundred spelling words with our students during early morning, lunch and after school practice sessions.

Accordingly, the Corps Members of the Sony Team took a collective sigh of relief when – following an all-around nail-biter of a Spelling Bee! – the last 6th grade finalist position was filled.

Nothing summarized the joy and satisfaction we all felt more clearly than the smiles of the lucky few students advancing to the Finals. After the Semi-Final, I asked one 6th grader, Arturo, why he invested himself so deeply in the Spelling Bee. In his own words, he’s been an “expert speller ever since the 2nd grade.” He was determined to win because he loved spelling. Besides that, he knew he was good at it.

Listening to him, it was easy to catch some of his excitement.

The Tri-School Final is now concluded, and Arturo didn’t win. Yet he will continue to practice his spelling with Josué Rios, the City Year Los Angeles Corps Member dedicated to his success both in and out of the classroom.

To that end, the Final proved to be a testament of the commitment every Corps Member at John Liechty Middle School, Virgil Middle School, and Robert F. Kennedy Middle School has made to their students this year.

This event was also made possible by the support from team sponsor Sony Pictures Entertainment who provided prizes, our Diploma’s Now partner Communities in Schools, several dedicated English teachers, parents, and other staff members, including JLMS’s very own Principal.

No matter whether they won or lost, it’s heartening to know there are a lot of people rooting for these students as they take control of their academic success now, and in the many years ahead.

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