Grade 7 Student Victorious in National Chess Tournament
Shafieen Ibrahim, grade 7, participated in the March 29 national playoffs of the 2014 US Amateur Team West Chess Tournament. His NorCal House Team emerged as the champions for the second year in a row. Ibrahim will be featured in an article in the April issue of Chess Life Magazine and is slated to appear on its May cover. To read more about the chess win: http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12598/757/.
Grade 5 Student Wins PayPal San Francisco Junior Squash Tournament
Avid squash player Vivek Sunkam, grade 5, recently participated in the PayPal San Francisco Junior Silver tournament. Participants included ranked players, such as top-seeded Mario Reifschneider (ranked 63rd by US Squash in the Boys Under 13 category). Sunkam, ranked 85th by US Squash in the Boys Under 13 category, was the second seed going into this tournament.
In the final, Sunkam was paired against Reifschneider for the championship in a best of five games set. Sunkam narrowly lost the first two with scores of 9-11 and 11-13. Then he started fighting back, winning the next two games convincingly with scores of 11-7 and 11-7. The deciding game was tense, with both players under pressure and tired. Both Sunkam and Reifschneider saved quite a few match points as they drew even at 10-10, 11-11 and 12-12. Ultimately Sunkam prevailed with a score of 14-12. The last game was definitely championship quality! Congrats, Vivek, on your first Boys Under 13 (BU13) squash tournament win!
Middle Schooler Has Solid Performance at Regional Spelling Bee
Katherine Zhang, grade 7, represented Harker in the CBS Bay Area Spelling Bee oral final competition on March 15 in San Francisco. Zhang breezed through the first six rounds, correctly spelling “praline,” “cedilla,” “sagacity,” “cheka,” “pennyroyal” and “herpetology,” but in the seventh round misspelled “embayment” as “enbayment”.
A total of 49 students from the Bay Area participated in this final round, after successfully emerging from 132 students who, as winners of the spelling contests at their respective schools in December, took the written semifinal round in February. Students vied for the opportunity to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which takes place in Washington, D.C., in May.
Although Zhang did not qualify, she found the experience to be very rewarding. “First, I have greatly expanded my vocabulary. I learned a lot of words from other languages, and I now know the roots of a lot of words,” she said. “Secondly, the experience further teaches me that hard work pays off. I had thought that I worked hard enough, but apparently someone else worked much harder. The winner practiced hours per day by getting up as early as 5 a.m.!”
A half-hour documentary on the regional spelling bee aired on March 29 at 7 p.m. on CBS Channel 5. It will re-air on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. CBS has created a promo video for the documentary.