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Student represents Delano as the first place winner for the Scripps Spelling Bee!

11-year-old Sebastian Millan has spelled his way to the top and has recently taken home the first place trophy for the regional 2024 Scripps Spelling Bee.
Posted at 9:30 AM, Mar 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-22 15:11:33-04

DELANO, Calif. (KERO) — Local kid studies hard to earn the first place title for the regional Kern County Spelling Bee. Now practicing to hopefully win the upcoming National Scripps Spelling Bee, also known as Bee Week.

  • This is the second county wide spelling bee Sebastian Millan has participated in, not making himself proud the first time he competed — Millan has worked hard to earn the title of the first place winner for the 2024 Scripps Kern County Spelling Bee.
  • This was just the regional competition - winning first place now qualifies Millan to advance to the National Scripps Spelling Bee.
  • His winning word? Locomotive!

11-year-old Sebastian Millan is no stranger to spelling bees... and now he's reached the top!

He took home the regional title and is now headed to Washington D.C. as the local representative for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Neighborhood News Reporter Ruby Rivera interviewing spelling bee winner Sebastian Millan in Delano
Neighborhood News Reporter Ruby Rivera interviewing spelling bee winner Sebastian Millan in Delano

"L O C O M O T I V E — locomotive,” said Millan.

That's the word that made it possible for Sebastian Millan to go home with the first-place trophy for the 2024 Scripps Kern County Spelling Bee.

However, Millan says this wasn't his first rodeo, this is now the second spelling bee Millan has participated in for Kern County. It took about 4 months of consistent practice between Millan and his teacher, Fatima Casimiro, to prepare for the competition — even utilizing technology to study.

"Word club. It's very good for practicing because spelling, flashcards, type for word fill in the blanks, vocabulary, there's a lot of things to do on that app,” said Millan.

Mrs. Casimiro says the first time Millan competed — he was eliminated in the first round. She says although he was devastated, he didn't give up and wasn't surprised that Millan was awarded first place.

"As far as coaching him it was very easy,” said Mrs. Casimiro. “I feel like I did nothing honestly, I was just there to facilitate, be there for support, any questions, but it was really the kids who put in the effort."

Mrs. Casimiro says spelling bees are critical for students to participate, she says it's a fun way for kids to get better at spelling through friendly competition, something that she says is overlooked now due to the rise in technology.

"We communicate in so many different ways whether it's through like texting abbreviations, or even emojis,” said Mrs. Casimiro. “English — it's a language that is used all over the world so it's very important that they can communicate not just verbally but written down."

Overcoming multiple obstacles along the way, Millan says the feeling of having him named called for the first place trophy was worth it, and can't wait to do it again.

"You know that feeling you get in your chest when it's like nervous pressure,” said Millan. “When that's relieved you immediately feel like you can do anything."

Taking home first place in regionals isn't the end of Millan’s spelling career. He's currently studying to prepare for the National Spelling Bee from May 26-June 1.

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