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Fourth-grader Nicholas Sue spells his way to L.A. County Bee after LCUSD v-i-c-t-o-r-y

Fourth-grader Nicholas Sue spells his way to L.A. County Bee after LCUSD v-i-c-t-o-r-y
Nicholas Sue, left, of La Cañada Prep, looks in the direction of his parents, after spelling the final word correctly to win the districtwide spelling bee on Jan. 16. Leon Chen, of Paradise Canyon Elementary, came in second place and earned a trophy. (Tim Berger / La Cañada Valley Sun)

It’s no “hallucination” — La Cañada Preparatory School’s Nicholas Sue may very well be one of the best young spellers in the area, after the fourth-grader beat out 15 other contestants in La Cañada Unified School District’s annual spelling bee.

The Jan. 16 competition tested the mettle of fourth- through sixth-grade competitors from La Cañada Prep as well as Palm Crest, Paradise Canyon and La Cañada elementary schools with a series of increasingly difficult words, such as “mirage,” “tonsillitis” and “rutabaga.”

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With La Cañada High School Interim Principal Jim Cartnal acting as the event’s spell master, and LCHS Assistant Principal Kip Glazer and LCUSD board member Kaitzer Puglia on the judge’s panel, the competition quickly boiled down to two competitors — Sue and Leon Chen, a sixth-grader from Paradise Canyon.

La Cañada High School Principal Jim Cartnal consults a dictionary for the correct spelling of a word in a spelling bee at La Cañada Unified School District headquarters.
La Cañada High School Principal Jim Cartnal consults a dictionary for the correct spelling of a word in a spelling bee at La Cañada Unified School District headquarters. (Tim Berger / La Cañada Valley Sun)

The pair both missed out on correctly spelling “grandeur,” forcing a face-off in the final round. La Cañada Elementary School Principal Emily Blaney, who served as pronouncer for the event, then gave Chen the word “grievous.” The sixth-grader did not provide the correct spelling, giving Sue a chance at the lead.

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The fourth-grade contestant correctly spelled that word and went on to correctly spell “hallucination” for the win and a first-place trophy.

Sue will represent La Cañada Flintridge schools in the 14th annual Los Angeles County Spelling Bee on March 13. Chen will serve as the district’s backup in the countywide competition.

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