First Live Spelling Bee at Desert Sands Unified School District Since March 2020

Spelling Bees have been around since 1925 and the purpose of them is to help students improve their spelling, vocabularies, and develop correct English usage. This year’s annual district-wide spelling bee was held on January 12, 2022, at Indio High School’s Performing Arts Center. It was the first “live” district-wide student event to take place since March, 2020. There were a total of 17 participants ranging from fourth to eighth grade.

Usually spelling bees can go on forever with each round of words getting harder and harder. This year’s contest lasted from 5:28 pm to around 6:35 pm and it was 31 rounds, with the winning word being “spaniel”. The first place winner this year was Dylan Le, a seventh grader at Palm Desert Charter Middle School. And this wasn’t his first time taking home the big win. He had previously won the spelling bee in 2019 as a fourth grader at Washington Charter School. He then went on to win the fourth place trophy at the Riverside County spelling bee. With hopes of keeping this winning streak alive, Dylan proceeded to win the 2020 DSUSD spelling bee, as a fifth grader at Washington Charter School, with the 2021 event being canceled due to COVID-19.

The runner-up winner this year was Katy Wang, a fifth grader at Ronald Reagan Elementary School. Both Dylan and Caty received trophies for their big wins. Dylan received a gold first place trophy and Caty a silver runner-up trophy. Dylan will move on to compete at the county level.

DSUSD Annual Spelling Bee Winners 2022

Dylan Le (seventh grader) and Katy Wan (fifth grader)

When asked about the spelling bee, Senior Director of Elementary Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Michael Wilhite had this to say, “I believe the spelling bee went very well this year even with the new safety protocols. My favorite moment was when I had a few minutes before the spelling bee to address the participants and thank them for being there representing their schools. I also told them they are all winners and should be very proud of themselves.” Michael’s role during the event was to supervise and help organize all the people involved in making this a fun and meaningful event for the students and their families.

Due to the accomplishment of having won numerous spelling bees back-to-back, Dylan was invited to attend the January 18, 2022 DSUSD board meeting to receive recognition. Desert Sands Public Information Officer, Mary Perry, spoke about Dylan’s accomplishments and then invited him up to say a few words.  Dylan stated, “I won the district spelling bee in 2019, 2020, and 2022. I’d like to thank my parents for helping me study every night. The county spelling bee is on March 23, 2022.” His statement was then followed by some well deserved applause from the entire board room audience.

The Riverside County Spelling Bee Competition will be held in a few months via Zoom (Date/time, location are subject to change). Dylan, DSUSD wishes you the best of luck at the county level! We are sure you will make us proud.


Image Sources

  • Spelling Bee Winners 2022: DSUSD
  • Spelling-Bee-800×568-1: DSUSD