Rory Lovette Jensen (left) and Natalie Lovette Jensen (right) pose for the Town Crier after their interviews.
Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Two students from Idyllwild School, Rory Lovette Jensen (third place) and his older sister Natalie Lovette Jensen (fourth place), placed in the top four at the Hemet Unified School District annual spelling bee on Jan. 24. 

In total, 46 students participated ranging from grades four to eight.

For students to get into the district spelling bee, they had to win their own school’s spelling bee, which for Idyllwild School was in November 2019. Rory won the fourth-fifth grade spelling bee and Natalie won the middle school spelling bee. 

“I’m pretty happy, especially because I beat my sister,” said Rory, who is in the fifth grade. “She’s a grade older than me.”

The word that placed him in third was “marionette.”

Rory practiced 30-45 minutes every night. 

“I guess I’d give them the advice that you should try to get into the first spelling bee, and then you’re going to have to practice a lot,” Rory said when asked what advice he would give to younger students interested in going into the spelling bee.

“I’ve been doing spelling bees since fourth grade,” said Natalie. “I tried it out in fourth grade because all my friends were doing it, and then I got second place and went to the district. I figured, I was good at it so why not keep doing it. I’m very competitive and like to win.”

When asked how many words you have to learn leading up to the district spelling bee, Natalie said, “There was a lot, like 600 of them. I plan to keep doing it, just practice and try my best.”

First place winner Yudhister Kumar from Western Academy will go on to compete in the county spelling bee in March at the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center.

Both Natalie and Rory hope to compete in next year’s spelling bee with the hopes of winning.