By Deb Murphy

Two Inyo County students proved that the brain trumps Spell Check when it comes to Spelling Bees.

Aubrey Hart, Lo-Inyo, and Naiya Warren, Owens Valley School, home from the California Spelling Bee

Aubrey Hart, Lo-Inyo, and Naiya Warren, Owens Valley School, home from the California Spelling Bee

Aubrey Hart and Naiya Warren, eighth-graders at Lo-Inyo and Owens Valley, respectively, scored the top spots in their grade level at the Inyo County Bee and hit the road to San Rafael May 2 for the California State Junior High contest. Warren made it half-way through the competition, Hart, a third of the way against 49 of the top spellers from Central and Northern California.

The process started at the individual school level and progressed to the Inyo County Bee, a combination of written and oral competition. “The stage round was nerve wracking,” Hart said, having to look into the audience with family and friends riveted on their speller.

Both got into the competition with the anticipation it would be fun. “I love to compete,” said Warren “and get attention.”

The format at the state level was all written with four words each round. “The proctors would come around to check,” said Hart. “They they’d say, real loud, ‘Oh, you missed this word, this is how you spell it,’ and they’d flip your card.”

Warren crammed for the state competition on the long road trip, grilled by mother Carma Roper and grandmother Mary Roper from a massive loose-leaf folder full of words. Hart suffered through the trip with the stomach flu.

Hart and Warren, both avid readers, have definite ideas for their academic futures. Warren wants to be an astronomer and work for NASA; Hart is focused on University of Reno and their overseas program, but a little less definite on a career. It’s either a marine biologist, veterinarian or pediatrician. And both will be competing in next year’s spelling bee.