Colina student advances to Arizona Spelling Bee - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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Colina student advances to Arizona Spelling Bee

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Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 7:22 am

Jack Piorkowski, a fifth-grade student of Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School, will head to the Arizona Spelling Bee to compete at the state competition.

Piorkowski earned the chance to compete in the state competition by winning the District Spelling Bee and placing second in the Maricopa County Region 1 Spelling Bee on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Kyrene School District Office.

Nearly 34 students from grade levels fourth through eighth across schools in Mesa and the Kyrene School District competed for the chance to go to state, and two were chosen.

This will be the second time Piorkowski has competed in the Arizona Spelling Bee, where he placed 10th last year.

Jack’s father, Marty Piorkowski, said watching his son compete had been one of the most nerve racking and best sporting event to witness.

“Last year he was the youngest person from the Kyrene District to ever make it to state,” Marty said.

Jack prepared for the competition by reviewing a 15-page reference guide of different words until he was able to memorize each word that was listed.

Some words that were listed included “homogeneous,” “bourgeois,” “scintillation,” “babushka” and “Pavlovian.”

After having a solid grasp of each word on the list, Jack began looking up different words online that he thought were hard to spell and studied them for a few hours per day.

For the Arizona Spelling Bee, no list of words is given out, so each competitor has to study on his or her own.

Jack has looked up different words in the dictionary and learned to spell them in order to assist him for the Arizona Spelling Bee.

He tries to divide his time equally between school work, music lessons and learning how to spell different words.

“I really want to get to nationals. I don’t have to win it, but it would be really cool to get there,” Jack said. “It would be really cool to get there and represent Arizona.”

The 2014 Arizona Spelling Bee will take place on Saturday, March 29, at 1 p.m. at the Channel Eight/AZ PBS building, 555 N. Central Ave., in downtown Phoenix.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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