Isaiah Ramirez, a fourth-grader at Henderson Elementary School, spells "furlough" during the school's annual spelling bee Monday while fellow fourth-grader Josiah Ramos waits his turn.


After competing against other students at the same grade level, Isaiah and Josiah were competing for first-place. Isaiah, who took first-place, said he's such a good speller because he spent Christmas vacation practicing and memorizing the words with Josiah who took second.


"Me and him study together," Josiah said. "But he's better."


Fourth-grade teacher Candy Michelson, who called the spelling bee, said some kids are able to spell intuitively while others spend time practicing.


"I would never have been a spelling bee person so I have a real affinity for the kid who's studied and got a letter wrong," she said.


Barstow Unified School District schools are holding spelling bee competitions in preparation for the districtwide spelling bee. The tentative date for the district's spelling bee is Feb. 15, said superintendent Susan Levine.