Spelling bee champ Reinhart to represent Higley school district at regional contest

From left, Higley Unified School District spelling bee runner-up Elena Jones of Coronado Elementary, Superintendent Dr. Mike Thomason and district spelling bee champion Devin Reinhart of Cortina Elementary celebrate the bee in January. The students will represent the school district in the regional bee the weekend of Feb. 23. (Courtesy of HUSD)


With a district runner-up spelling bee title in 2017, Devin Reinhart of Cortina Elementary School put a goal in place for this year. She wanted to be the Higley district champion.

The Queen Creek sixth-grader did just that in January. Now she will represent Higley Unified School District along with Elena Jones from Coronado Elementary, the district bee runner-up, when they compete the weekend of Feb. 23 at the regional bee.

The trip will mark Devin’s second trip to regionals; she finished ninth last year.

Preparing for the bees took time and a few handy books. Devin said her home library includes a now well-worn copy of frequently used National Spelling Bee words and several dictionaries.

“I had already mastered the languages last year,” she said of studying the origins of words. “My dad bought me a book with the frequently used spelling words and we used the dictionary more often” to prepare.

“So now when I get to regionals, I’ll know to ask more questions about the prefixes and suffixes,” she said.

In other words, Devin feels prepared.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m not that nervous. But I soon will be.”

Besides spelling bee preparations, Devin keeps busy as a member of the National Elementary Honor Society at Cortina and an academic all-star, and — as of last year — a saxophone player.

She also keeps in touch with last year’s Higley and Arizona Spelling Bee champion, Penda Ba. Penda went on to represent Arizona at the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“We talk about the spelling bee and getting ready,” Devin said.

Penda was the second Higley student to win the Arizona title in less than five years. Cooley’s Nila Dhinakar won 2014.

The Arizona Spelling Bee will take place March 24 in Phoenix.

Editor’s note: Michelle Reese is the public relations coordinator for the Higley Unified School District. Cortina Elementary School is at 19680 S. 188th St. in Queen Creek. For more information about it and other schools served in the district, visit husd.org.

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