Jack Bullock, a 5th grader at Mission Basilica School in San Juan Capistrano won first place in the second annual JSerra Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word formaldehyde. In doing so, he earned a tuition-assistance award to JSerra valued at $20,000.
Bullock was one of 36 5th- and 6th-grade entrants from seven Catholic schools in the Diocese of Orange who participated in the bee as part of the celebration of Catholic Schools Week. Schools from Saint Edwards, Serra Catholic, Saint John’s Episcopal, Our Lady of Fatima, Saint Anne, Mission Basilica, and Saint Catherine of Siena sent their spellers to compete in the JSerra championship.
The second place winner was Our Lady of Fatima’s 6th grader Nathan Kennedy, who won $2,500 per year towards JSerra tuition ($10,000 value). The third place winner was St. John Episcopal’s 5th grader Jackson Thun, who won $1,000 per year towards JSerra tuition ($4,000 value).
The bee participants arrived at JSerra in time to join the high school students for weekly Mass followed by a luncheon and then the competition. Some 400 attendees cheered on the students in the school’s gymnasium.
“The purpose of the spelling bee is to encourage students to develop a love of reading,” said Brock Perkes, JSerra’s director of Admissions. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard any gym that loud before. There was a lot of positive energy from the crowd and it was a great way to recognize the efforts of diligent spellers.”