Buzzing with Words: Charter’s Annual Spelling Bee


Photo by Natali Brito

Gabriela Carvajal, Web Manager

 Walking up the entryway to Southwest Focal Point Community Center, a familiar feeling was trailing through the bodies of Pembroke Pines Charter Seniors. With a legacy on the line, these 12 students faced a team of senior citizens ready to test their knowledge on the world of words. 

   On the bus ride there, PPCHS’ seniors could not have been any more excited to create a high school memory together with local seniors. “It was an eerie feeling sitting on that bus. It reminded me of the times I went on other field trips in the past,” says  Elizabeth Castillo. 

   As Mr. Curry and the students enter the center, a City of Pembroke Pines official greets the visitors and prepares them for a tour of the facility. In detailing the various activities and classes seniors are exposed to, one is sure to be delighted with the pottery class and lounge area as the engagement between the center’s members were maximized. With a similar feeling to how high school is oriented with its student body, it was quite warming to see everyone getting along with one another and playing classic games. In fact this opportunity extends towards those who are over 18 years old as they qualify to pursue a membership at the Southwest Focal Point Community Center!

   As 11 o’ clock struck, lunch time was called and the tour had come to an end. Amidst the potential awkwardness that was first present, the senior citizens were quite approachable and small talk shortly sprouted. From a World War II Veteran to former nurses and teachers, these seniors were quite the audience that delighted each of the students. But, with a short mention of the spelling competition the atmosphere grew considerably competitive, enlightening the room of what was to come. In offering Latin-inspired dishes, students and seniors alike entertained themselves with past and future memories. 

    By the time lunch had concluded, a switch was flipped as the competitors lined the stage. With over 20 participants, the spelling bee came with a lively and energetic atmosphere – especially when it came down to the last two, featuring Charter’s very own Julian Villarta! “I had a lot of fun at [this year’s] Senior Spelling Bee! It was great to not only be able to connect with another generation, but I loved competing against them too! I haven’t done a spelling bee since 6th grade so I had fun [revisiting] it again,” Julian says. So, maybe Julian had the upper hand in the competition after all! 

    To consider this victory fair is argued among the students as questionable given the level of difficulty of the words sporadically changing, leaving certain words to be in favor of the senior citizens…  Nonetheless, it was a great way to end a fantastic few rounds of spelling.

  Amidst the COVID barriers placed with mandatory masks, the students were still able to bond with the seniors and instill a sense of hope in them as they took the gold for the annual spelling competition. For the first time since COVID, PPCHS was able to explore the realm beyond campus lines and create a memorable experience with members of the community that happen to have a little more experience in the real world.