Mililani student tops bee
• Photo gallery: Hawaii Spelling Bee is a Buzz!
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer
KĀNE'OHE — Mililani Middle School student Brysen Pasion is the state's best speller and will represent Hawai'i at the national spelling bee in June.
He survived 22 rounds yesterday by spelling "commissary" correctly.
"I won't forget how to spell that word," Brysen said. "It was a tough bee."
Hannah Komar, an eighth-grader from Our Savior Lutheran School, was the first runner-up at the Hawai'i State Spelling Bee held yesterday at the Pailikū Theatre at Windward Community College.
Brysen, an eighth-grader, will now represent Hawai'i at the Scripps National Spelling Bee June 2 to 4 in Washington, D.C. The 13-year-old Hannah will replace Pasion if he is unable to go to D.C. Her long-range plans include college and some day living in Japan.
The finalists qualified as the champions and runners-up of seven district spelling bees held on four islands from Feb. 9 to March 4.
The 14 district qualifiers for the state Spelling Bee were:
• Kaua'i: Athena Abadilla (winner), St. Theresa School; Harmony Graziano, Kapa'a Middle School.
• Windward: Maria Mesina (winner), St. Ann's Model School; Jordan Kauwe, Windward Nazarene Academy.
• Central: Hannah Komar (winner), Our Savior Lutheran School; Brysen Pasion, Mililani Middle School.
• Maui: Gabriel Salazar (winner), Maui Waena Intermediate School; Christopher Kim, Maui Waena Intermediate.
• Leeward: Marina Leota (winner), Wai'anae Intermediate School; Charisse Agraan, Lanakila Baptist School.
• Honolulu: Brandan Sakka (winner), 'Iolani School; Lyn Luu, Kal kaua Middle School.
• Big Island: Madison Inman (winner), Hawai'i Preparatory Academy; Alyssa Volivar, Kamehameha Schools-Hawai'i.
Brysen's mother, Gina, coached him for the spelling bee. They studied every day for two hours with his mom searching for words on the Internet.
Brysen said his favorite subject is math and he's a member of Mililani Middle's math team. He hopes to go to college and correctly spell all the Latin words in his chosen field of neurology.
"I just found random words on the Internet and we studied together," Brysen said. "Now I'll have to study some more."
As yesterday's spelling bee progressed the students appeared calm, asking for clarification, definitions and word origin.
At round 11, with five students remaining, the judges decided to turn to the additional word list to make the competition harder.
"The caliber of spellers is very high this year," said Madeline Gable, who represented the Hawaii Court Reporters & Captioners Association. "The words are obviously too easy for them."
Among the words the students spelled correctly were alliteration, ominous, succotash, taj and klompen.
As the winner of yesterday's competition, Brysen received two all-expense paid trips to D.C. for the national bee, a dictionary and a $100 U.S. Savings Bond.
Last year Konawaena Middle School student Talmage Nakamoto represented Hawai'i at the national competition.