A ‘Mammoth’ champion for spelling

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
Ethan Corum and Western Center Academy Assistant Principal Mike Horton.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

For many students, spelling and grammar can be a tough challenge. But for Western Center Academy 8th grader Ethan Corum, it’s a challenge he enjoys. The straight-A student won the Hemet Unified School District spelling bee and went on last month to come in second in the 17th annual Riverside County Spelling Bee.
“It was my first county spelling bee,” Ethan says. “My favorite words to spell were ‘nightingale’ and ‘cicada,’ even though I spelled ‘cicada’ wrong.”
His mistake? Spelling it “c-y-c-a-d-a.” But for his first time, coming in second overall is… not bad by all accounts.
For Ethan, it can be quite a pain when peers don’t watch their spelling and grammar.
“It kinda bothers me,” says Ethan, “because spelling is a pretty easy skill to master.”
Then again, Ethan does understand that some people aren’t so keen on spelling as their brain chemistry can influence learning struggles. “That’s part of it, too.”
WCA Assistant Principal Michael Horton had a few choice words to say about Ethan.
“We’re very proud of him; he placed first in the district and second in the county,” said Horton. “That’s amazing — the amount of work and effort he’s put into it and the joy he’s gotten out of it. It’s been inspiring to us all.”
On top of his outstanding language skills, Ethan also dabbles in robotics. According to Mr. Horton, “He’s constantly asking to take parts home and work on a prototype.”
That’s not to say Ethan doesn’t have his struggles; he tried to get ahead with high school algebra, and currently has a ‘C’. But cut him some slack; algebra is hard.
Mr. Horton also points out that WCA’s student successes can be linked back to the school’s award-winning curricula: “It’s an amazing school! My daughter attends this school; it’s been just the best thing for her.”
And it’s no wonder: WCA was named a California Distinguished School in 2013 and has been nominated a California Gold Ribbon school.
After he graduates in four years (give or take, depending on how fast he masters high school requirements) Ethan plans to go into engineering. He plans to apply to Stanford as his first choice; but Michigan State is a close second. “That’s where my parents went,” Ethan said.
You wouldn’t think that our valley was home to such top schools at first, but Ethan has handily demonstrated that it really is. Congratulations Ethan!

Photos by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
Ethan Corum and Western Center Academy Assistant Principal Mike Horton.

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