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Ted Pamintuan of GMS competes at 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee

(Press Release) — 14-year-old Christian Ted Autajay Pamintuan joined 565 spellers on the national stage in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee held in National Harbor, Maryland on May 26-31, 2019, making him the only student to represent Saipan in the national event this year.

Green Meadow School’s Ted Pamintuan finished 51st in a field of 565 spellers from across the U.S. and its territories. GMS photo

An eighth-grade student at Green Meadow School, Ted took 51st place among the 565 spellers from all 50 states, territories and Department of Defense schools in Europe.

Pamintuan has won the GMS championship for four consecutive years and was the school’s representative in the regional Spelling Bee onn Guam where he finished third in March.

Pamintuan qualified to compete in the nationals through the RSVBee program.

He was one of the 225 of the 635 applicants selected to compete in the national finals. Applicants must be a Bee finalist and they were screened based on a point system related to their school grades.

In Maryland, Pamintuan displayed the poise of a veteran, and confidently spelled his winning word in the 3rd round: “assuagement” which means to lessen the intensity of (something that is pain or distresses), receiving a great applause from the audience in the Maryland Ballroom of the Gaylord Convention Center.

Pamintuan said he was very thankful for the opportunity to be part of the national Spelling Bee.

“It was a dream come true,” he said. “I am thrilled for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to pursue my dream and be a part of something this big.

“I loved being able to see Dr. Jacques Bailly in person and being able to make new friends from all over the world,” he said.

Willy and Jymma Pamintuan, Ted’s parents, said they are very impressed with Ted’s spelling success. They noted that their son is involved in other activities as well. He is the managing editor of his school paper, a participant in speech competitions, thespian, Math Court and karate events. But he still finds time to hone his spelling skills.

Willy Pamintuan said when he was young, he used to watch “random strangers” participating in Spelling Bee on black and white TV. He finds it hard to believe that he was watching his son on the big screen this year.

“I feel like he transformed my failures into successes. I am beyond thankful and very proud of his achievements,” Wily said.

Although Ted’s coach teacher Lorelisa Espiritu, was not able accompany him, Jymma Pamintuan credited Espiritu for her dedication in coaching her son.

“Ted is very blessed to have such a supportive coach and a solid support system. His coach, family, relatives and friends were all cheering him on since day one. Seeing him have fun throughout the process from his 5th grade to 8th grade Spelling Bee journey made me very proud as a parent. His passion for reading and spelling flourished all these years which helped him do well in the nationals.” she said.

Ted Pamintuan did not make it to the top 50 finalists who were determined based on their performance during the stage spelling portion and a written test at the start of the event.

But his school, family and friends on Saipan are still very proud of him and his remarkable performance during the national competition.

Ted is also the valedictorian in his class. He wasn’t able to attend the promotion ceremony because he had to compete in the national Spelling Bee, but he video-taped his message to his classmates and friends, much to the delight of everyone present during the ceremony.