Christian Academy student earns trip to Colorado spelling bee competition


After besting the competition in Las Vegas recently, a Pahrump Community Christian Academy student earned the honor of traveling to Colorado this weekend to compete in a regional spelling bee.

Seventh grader Bryston Nguyen took the fifth spot at the Association of Christian Schools International event, held at Lake Mead Christian Academy to advance.

Christian Academy Principal Renee Bell said Nguyen displayed great poise and skill during the Las Vegas event.

The student body at the Pahrump academy at present is 105 students, which a mere fraction of the number of students at the Lake Mead academy.

“With the competition in Las Vegas, Bryston had some pretty tough words to spell,” she said. “It started very, very tough but he lasted and he did very well. He was in that spell-off along with another one of our students and he won to advance to the regionals in Denver, Colorado.”

Regarding his success in Las Vegas, Nguyen remained humble about the victory.

He noted that he was a bit apprehensive prior to the competition.

“I felt a little scared because I don’t think that I am the best at spelling and I’m pretty sure most of the reason why I got to Colorado was because most of the words that I got were not that hard. That is what I think.”

To advance to the regional spelling bee, Bell said Nguyen edged out fellow classmate Alexander Morrissey, a fifth grader at the Christian Academy.

Morrissey said he already has a career planned.

“I want to be an immunologist or become the president of the United States,” he said. “With immunology, you try to find cures for diseases and such. My favorite school subjects are math and science.”

Bell, meanwhile noted how proud she is of both students’ performance in Las Vegas.

“In Las Vegas they do it by the student’s grade level and the top four spellers at each grade level, then meet for the spell-off which is fifth-to-eighth grade,” she said. For Bryston and Alexander to come in third place in their classroom, and then place fifth overall, is very remarkable. We are a small school and we are competing with much larger schools in Las Vegas. That includes Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City.”

Additionally, Bell noted that Nguyen’s sibling, now a Pahrump Valley High School student, also advanced to the regional spelling bee a few years back.

“His brother Amega did very well and he went to the spelling bee in Denver, Colorado also,” she said. “The spelling bee is in Littleton, Colorado and we are leaving Friday morning. I have very high hopes for Bryston.”

Unfortunately, Bell said Nguyen’s parents won’t be making the trip this weekend.

“I am taking him to Colorado and we are meeting his aunt and grandmother up there because his mom and dad can’t go,” she said. “If he passes this level, he will move on to the final one in Washington D.C.”

As a testament to the difficulty of the competition, Nguyen surprisingly could not recall the word he correctly spelled in order to advance to the competition in Colorado.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes