Immanuel Christian School hosted the fifth annual All School Spelling Bee on Friday morning at the school's Worship Center. Participants were grades 2 through 5 from ICS, Saint Ann School, Ridgecrest Charter School, and students in homeschooling.

The All School Spelling Bee operates differently from Sierra Sands Unified School District's. Rather than competing for one overall winner, the All School Spelling Bee featured compartmentalized competitions. Each grade competed only against each other, and one spelling bee champion came out of each grade.

In order to be crowned as the grade level champion speller, the final two surviving competitors would hold a duel of spelling until one misspelled a word. The other speller needed to spell that misspelled word correctly, then go on to correctly spell one more word in order to prove their mettle and earn the glory spelling bee championship.

Grade three started off the spirited, yet civil, competition. Justin Lee of ICS triumphed in this category after second place speller Chloe Wetzel of ICS misspelled "planetary." Lee correctly spelled that word, then went on to secure his victory by spelling "fragment."

The competition then stepped down a grade level as the second graders approached the stage, minds anxious but prepared. Jack Archibald of ICS prevailed as the top spelling second grader in all the land as he correctly spelled "thousand" after second place champion Mia McDermott of the homeschool invitees left out the "s." Archibald charged forth to correctly spell "newspaper," a very fine word, thus earning him the second grade spelling champion medal.

All School Spelling Bee then jumped up to the fourth graders, where William Waddill of ICS took second place and Tyler Torres of Saint Ann School took home the championship. The two battled in an ever-increasing series of spelling bouts until coming across the word "fluent." Waddill made the slightest of mistakes in his spelling, allowing Torres to swoop in for the victory by spelling "fluent" and then going on to spell "simplicity."

Such is the fickle nature of survival in spelling bee.

Drama gripped the fifth grade spelling competition from the very beginning. Each grade level started their competition with one practice round of simple words so the young spellers could get used to the format. Each student stepped to the microphone, stated their name and the school they're from, then went on to spell their practice word.

Grant Rice of ICS approached the microphone, but misspelled his practice word. Homeschooler Makayla McDermott approached the microphone, then correctly stated her name but incorrectly stated the school she's from. Both competitors started off on the wrong foot with shaken confidence, questioning their entire future careers of competitive spelling.

However, these bold and brave spellers regained their composure and ultimately earned second and first place in the fifth grade division.

The two spelled back and forth valiantly, until the word "agitate" felled Rice. McDermott correctly spelled that word, then went on to spell "frustrate," ascending to her proverbial victor's podium.

Win or lose, the students from each school had good attitudes, with smiles all around.