Tenacious. That's how the students at Etiwanda High School were described on May 14th at their Vocabulary Bowl Champions celebration.

When the season began back in October, all eyes were on the EHS Eagles to see if they were capable of back-to-back wins as pressure mounted from powerhouse schools in New York, Ohio and Florida. Could Etiwanda muster enough stamina to repeat their '16 - '17 win? Seven months and 421,222 words later, the Eagles answered that question with an emphatic yes.

The students at Etiwanda High School launched a massive word-learning campaign from the get-go, winning four of the seven months in the competition and bringing their total Vocabulary Bowl Champion banner haul to ten. In the end, EHS beat more than 41,000 other schools from across North America, distancing themselves from the runner-up by more than 100,000 words.

At the culminating event in the school gym, Vocabulary.com CEO Michael Freedman and CTO Marc Tinkler presented the folks from Etiwanda with the California State Champion Banner, the Vocabulary Bowl Champion banner, and the Vocabulary Bowl Champion cup — which Principal Don Jaramillo paraded past cheering staff and students.

Principal Don Jaramillo enjoying the win.
Behind the students' stellar academic achievement is a team of dedicated teachers who integrate vocabulary instruction with the curriculum they're teaching. Day in and day out, the staff at Etiwanda emphasizes how crucial vocabulary acquisition is to strong literacy skills. Many teachers actively cultivate this culture of word learning at EHS, and the top 6 teachers were recognized with medals and met with rousing applause.

 

Dozens of teachers are behind EHS's victory.

The Top 100 students were presented with medals and certificates of achievement. What does it take to be a Top 100 student at Etiwanda? Each of these kids mastered hundreds and hundreds of words over the course of the year. As impressive as that is, it's also pretty common at Etiwanda, where more than one thousand students mastered 150 words or more during the competition.

Top 100 Students

That collective commitment to academic achievement was reflected in Mr. Jaramillo's comments after the ceremony. "If someone were to ask me what's our secret, I'd tell them it's really not a secret. It's just what we do, it's part of our school culture now. Vocabulary.com is baked in."

Mayor Dennis Michael congratulates student.

Rancho Cucamonga city officials came to show their enthusiasm and support for the Etiwanda Eagles. Shaking students' hands in a receiving line were Mayor Dennis Michael, Mayor Pro Tem Lynne Kennedy, and City Council Member Sam Spagnolo. Mayor Michael presented Principal Jaramillo with an official commendation plaque from the city, which will be proudly displayed alongside the trophy. Chaffey Joint Union High School District Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jim Cronin and Director of Technology Mike Bement also participated, giving out medals and certificates.

Summing up the spirit of the event, ELA teacher April Smith told the crowd, "Today is as much a celebration of learning as it as a celebration of winning." That sentiment also captures what the Vocabulary Bowl itself is all about, and we thank everyone who participated in the competition and in the special event at Etiwanda.