Miller Intermediate's Alison Tran flashes a smile after correctly spelling "imperative" and wrapping up the District Spelling Bee title on Tuesday.
For Miller Intermediate seventh-grader Alison Tran, the imperative was to spell the word.
Tran did just that - and in so doing became the Pasadena ISD's Spelling Bee champion for 2011 on Tuesday.
Tran carefully and cheerfully spelled out the word "imperative" to edge out Bailey Elementary fifth-grader Spencer Messick in a 25-round marathon - the longest spelling bee in Pasadena ISD history.
Both Tran and Messick correctly spelling 24 consecutive words in front of a tense audience at the Administration Building. Messick stumbled in the 25th round when he missed a letter in the word "apostrophe."
Tran then correctly spelled "providence," leaving her one correct answer away from the championship.
She broke into a broad smile after correctly spelling "imperative."
Both Tran and Messick advance to the Regional Spelling Bee to be televised live on KUHT, Channel 8, from the University of Houston on March 26. Broadcast time is 2 p.m.
Tran and Messick battled each other for 10 rounds after the third-place finisher, Saraswati Saharan, an eighth-grader from Jackson, bowed out in the 15th round after missing a letter in the word "gazelle."
REST OF THE TOP SIX: Bailey's Messick, Jackson Intermediate eighth-grader Saraswati Saharan; Fisher Elementary fifth-grader Jonathan Mendez; Garfield Elementary fourth-grader Crystal Dang; and Keller Middle School sixth-grader Nora Stillwell.
Tran and Messick show off their first- and second-place trophies.
(Left) Tran with her coach, Kathy Massey, her mother, Denise Tran, and her sister, Jenny Tran, a Milstead Middle School sixth-grader; (right) Messick with his parents, Laronda and Spencer Messick.