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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Familiar face winner of Windward bee

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

KAILUA Jonathan Lee, an eighth-grader at St. Anthony School, earned a trip back to the Hawai'i State Spelling Bee last night by winning the Windward District bee at Le Jardin Academy.

Jonathan, who placed second in the state bee last year, spelled "census" to capture the district title over Emma de Vries, a Le Jardin Academy eighth-grader, in the eighth round.

Both advance to The Honolulu Advertiser's 21st Hawai'i State Spelling Bee on March 26.

Eighteen students from nine Windward schools competed last night.

Jonathan, who placed second in last year's district bee, said he was comfortable onstage this year and not as tense.

His coach, Debbie Rusnak, said Jonathan loves the challenge and usually does well in whatever he tries.

"He's every teacher's dream student," Rusnak said.

Emma fumbled on "interregnum" the period between the end of one monarch's reign and the beginning of the successor's in the eighth round, opening the door for Jonathan's winning word.

Jonathan's parents are Vicky and Ray Harwell. Emma's parents are Cindy Turner and Hugo de Vries.

Jonathan said he studied harder and read more this year to prepare for the event. He said he'll have to do more to win the state and national championships.

"Studying is the only way," Jonathan said. "I'm not really good at words."

Emma said that she didn't study for the district competition but that it'll change for the state bee.

The state champion will be sent to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 31-June 1, in Washington, D.C.

Each Hawai'i state finalist will receive gifts from Sears, Island Heritage, Consolidated Theatres and Enjoy Snacks. Travel for Neighbor Island participants will be provided by Aloha Airlines.

The state champion will win an expenses-paid trip for two to Washington and a $100 U.S. savings bond from Jay Sugarman. Merriam-Webster is donating a Third New International Dictionary to the winner and a Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, to the runner-up.

Other prize sponsors include Radio Shack, Dede and James Sutherland, the Hawai'i Court Reporters and Captioners Association, and the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com.