Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

13-Year-Old Wins Top Bee Honor

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

13-Year-Old Wins Top Bee Honor

Article excerpt

Paolo Olis is like a lot of other students in that he gets nervous in front of crowds. Like Tuesday night at Wilkinson Junior High School for the Clay County spelling bee.

"I was nervous for the first couple of words, but then it was OK," Paolo said a few minutes after properly spelling "utilitarian" to defeat 26 other school champions and win the annual spelling bee. "I knew all the words, so it was just a matter of concentration."

The 13-year-old Lakeside Junior High School student will represent the county in the Times-Union Regional Spelling Bee in Jacksonville on March 10. Last year's county winner, Corey Jones, again represented Tynes Elementary School, but dropped out in the third round this time.

This was the second time Paolo had participated in the county championship. He was Montclair's school winner two years ago, but misspelled the first word then.

"It was a homonym that time," said Paolo, who credits teacher Molly Miller and his mother, Rubi, for helping him the most. "I study spelling about an hour every night. I also like math and chemistry."

Miller, an English teacher and department head at Wilkinson, said Paolo is a hard worker and is on the school's academic team.

"I told some of the other teachers that I thought we had a winner," Miller said. "He's an all-around nice kid and makes straight A's."

Paolo's father, Alex, works in the environmental services area at Jacksonville Naval Air Station and his mother is a technical writer and instructional designer who does work for Blue Cross-Blue Shield. His mother and father came from Cebu, Philippines, and Paolo was born in New Brunswick, N.J.

The following is a list of students who won their school spelling bees and competed in the county bee Tuesday:

Monica Biggs, Annunciation Catholic School; Erica Glisson, C. …

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