Buena Vista Grows 'Bee' Scholars

May 03, 2018 | Katie Henderson

Buena Vista Seventh-day Adventist School in Auburn, Wash., has participated in regional education competitions for spelling and geography bees for nearly 20 years and is now adding participation in a history bee.

This year, the school is excited to be sending two students to the King-Snohomish Counties Regional Spelling Bee and National Geographic State Geography Bee and also will be sending its first student to the National History Bee.

Max Kiger, a fifth-grade student and first-time qualifier, was excited and nervous to compete in the Regional Spelling Bee in Seattle, Wash.

“It’s a new experience for him,” says Vicki Rutherford, Buena Vista teacher. “The Regional Bee is always held on Sunday, rather than Saturday, partly for our school and for several Jewish schools. We are grateful.”

Kiger’s family proudly watched as he made it to the third round of the spelling bee on March 25, where the word "intaglio" gave him a struggle.

Additionally, Justin Taina, eighth-grade student, qualified for the National Geographic State Geography Bee in Tacoma, Wash., for the second time.

“He is a walking geography book complete with world maps,” says Rutherford. “We have never had a student qualify for the national competition in geography ... yet. We’ll see how Justin does at state level this year.”

Taina is also the first student from Buena Vista to qualify as a finalist for the National History Bee in Atlanta, Ga.

“He’s self-motivated and highly intellectual. I encourage him to read more kinds of genres to be able to branch out in his knowledge,” says Connie Mitzelfelt, eighth-grade teacher. “He’ll be reading four to five books at a time, and it’s good to see him branching out.”

As the day of the National History Bee falls on graduation day at Buena Vista, the school will be holding a special graduation ceremony for Taina.

“Justin has to report to Atlanta the very day of his eighth-grade graduation, so we are holding a special ceremony to graduate him the day before,” says Rutherford. “He will march in cap and gown with his class and give his class historian address, which will be recorded for presentation at the actual graduation.”

Buena Vista also held its first Art Walk in March. Every student had an opportunity to show off their artistic talent. The gym was set up to look like a museum, and several parents and community members turned out to see the works of the students. Amber Nelson, first-grade teacher, is looking forward to hosting the Art Walk next year.