Local students named semifinalists for National Spelling Bee contest

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A team of Santa Clarita students is one of 10 semifinalists in the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s second Spellebrity Video Contest.

The video contest gives students a chance to win an expense-paid trip to the national finals in Washington, D.C. by producing videos that promote a love of reading and lifelong learning.

Students from across the country submitted live action and stop motion animation video entries for the contest that included original scripts and three important words to know for the spelling bee.

The 10 semifinalists were chosen by a team of judges, but now the top five finalists, and champion, will be chosen by the public through online votes.

From Santa Clarita, the Bigham Yago team of Emily Yago, 12, Khara Bigham, 13, and Lily Bigham, 10, made it to the semifinals for their video titled “The Tale of the Indolent Sister.”

In the video, two sisters choose to put their phones down and have an adventure on a boring Sunday.  The girls learn the words indolent, residence and extravagant as they enter new worlds as witches, pirates, fairies, mermaids and chefs.

“We [the Bigham family] were just brainstorming at dinner and then all of the sudden we brought up this idea of the video and we all loved it,” said Lily Bigham, a fifth grade student at Tesoro Del Valle Elementary School.  “My family really likes making videos and stuff like that.”

Yago, a seventh grade student at Rio Norte Junior High School, said the team put their brains and ideas together to write the script and produce the video.

“We took out scenes in the books we’ve read,” Yago said.  “Like right now I’m reading ‘Harry Potter’ and there’s a lot of action going on and we thought of putting that it in the video.”

Altogether, it took the students two days to create the video.

“We worked non-stop,” said Khara Bigham, a seventh grade student at Rio Norte Junior High School.  “We just spent a bunch of our time working on this together.”

By making the video, the students learned how to use Adobe Premiere and a tripod, spell new words and practice patience with one another.

“It was my first time using Adobe Premier, which is an editing software,” Khara Bigham said.  “For me I’ve always used iMovie and it was a new thing to learn and really fun.”

The experience also stressed the importance of reading for Yago, who said it’s important to practice active thinking and exercise one’s mind.

“The message that the contest is putting is out is that reading is very important and I agree with that,” she said.  “Reading is important to learn new words, exercise your mind and to enter new world.”

She also expressed her concern that so many of her peers are always on their phones, instead of behind the pages of books.

“I’ve noticed that there are a lot of kids that are always on their phones whenever they can be,” Yago said.  “I don’t think it’s that great to be on your phones all the time because you don’t get to interact with people as much.”

Now, the Bigham Yago team joins nine other teams from across the country that are working to gain public support and votes to make it to the finals.

The top five teams will win a trip to Washington, D.C. for Bee Week and the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and the championship team will win a trophy and a cash prize of $1,000 each.

“That would be awesome to go to Washington, D.C. because that’s not anywhere I’ve been before,” Lily Bigham said.

Her sister, Khara Bigham, said she would love to be a part of the national competition and Yago said she would like to visit her family in the city.

To support the Bigham Yago team, cote for “The Tale of the Indolent Sister” at Spellebrity.com.  Voting for the contest is open to the public until March 24.

The championship winner will be announced during Bee Week on June 1.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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