annual Friends of the Martin Luther King Library Spelling Bee took place July 16 and 17, when 103 children competed in seven divisions—one per each grade from first through sixth, and a combined seventh- and eighth-grade division.
Third-grader Sienna Brown of Pleasant Grove School in Elk Grove provided one of the day’s highlights after making into the final stage, when she was asked to spell “operetta.” Sienna’s mother, Leslie Sandefur
, is a professional opera singer who regularly performs around Northern California. Sienna spelled it faultlessly and went on to finish second in her division.
The first King Spelling Bee was started in 2003 by Gwen Fleming, former director of the homework center at the King Library, and has become an institution. Many of the kids train for the competition with The Phoenix Park Group and other community centers that work with youth in low-income housing complexes in South Sacramento.
The King Friends also put on two other student events, an essay contest and a public speaking competition.
“The more educational opportunities like this one that the Friends in conjunction with the Library can provide, the better off our kids will be,” said Phyllis Boswell, a retired English teacher and a member of the King Friends who works on the annual spelling bee.
Read about last year’s Spelling Bee in the Sacramento Bee