Linda Vista's Spelling Whiz Kid
Plus: The Pad Thai Shack, LV Volunteer Sets the Example, LV News Briefs, and the Five LV Climbs Challenge Proposal
While most of us have learned to accommodate any personal spelling deficiencies by relying on digital assets as “spellcheck” and “autocorrect”, there is one student in Linda Vista who revels in the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to expertly spell new words without any assistance. And while many of us might be terrified of spending time in front of an audience and proving our spelling abilities in high pressure situations, this one Linda Vista student has consistently displayed his coolness and poise in highly competitive spelling bee competitions.
Jedd Li, an 8th grade student at Francis Parker School, recently excelled in the 53rd Union-Tribune annual County-wide Spelling Bee competition, which is open to 6th, 7th and 8th graders. In the competition held March 9 at the Town and Country Resort in Mission Valley, Jedd finished as overall runner-up to the eventual champion Mihir Konkapaka from the Poway Unified School District. The Spelling Bee included 76 students from schools throughout the county. The competition went on through twelve rounds of words before the results were settled based on the word “exsufflation” (forcible breathing or blowing out).
This latest spelling bee competition isn’t the first time Jedd has demonstrated his spelling prowess. Remarkably, in last year’s SD County Spelling Bee competition, he also garnered overall second place honors, finishing once again as runner-up to none other than the same Mihir Konkapaka.
As a result of his second place finish this year, Jedd is the County’s designated alternate to attend the National Spelling Bee.
How has Jedd been so successful in these competitions? He credits spending a good amount of time studying the 4000-word list that the County Spelling Bee makes available to all competitors. “In preparing for the spelling bee,” he said, “I would go home after school each day and complete my homework, and then spend the rest of the time studying the words. I went over the words and their definitions. If there was a word I didn’t know, I would put it on yellow sticky note, and then place the note on my desk. The word would stay on my desk until I knew how to spell it.”
In preparation for the initial school spelling bee that qualified him for the county competition, Jedd received another list of words from his teacher Ms Keith. In addition, he also used an App called Word Club to help learn the words.
Because of the COVID pandemic, last year’s County Spelling Bee competition was held on Zoom, but this year’s competition was held in front of a live audience. The added pressure apparently didn’t bother Jedd. In fact, he said that what he especially enjoys about the spelling bee competition is “being around all the students from different schools. It’s fun to have that atmosphere.”
He also credits his love of reading with giving him the skills to excel in spelling. “Reading and spelling go hand-in-hand,” he said. In fact when asked to complete the sentence…”When I am not practicing for the spelling bee, I can be found…” his response was “reading.” He is a fan of the fantasy fiction genre, and he also enjoys reading non-fiction books.
Though he is certainly excellent at spelling, Jedd’s favorite school subject happens to be math, which he describes as being fun. “I like working things out, puzzling it out.” He is a member of the school’s Math Club.
He also finds time in his busy schedule to play tennis and the piano.
When asked if he had any thing in particular he wanted to say to Linda Vista Update readers, he said, “I want to thank my parents for spending time with me preparing for the spelling bee, and to thank my school, and all the students that participated in the spelling bee. It was a very special experience.”
The Linda Vista Update offers congrats to Jedd Li for his stellar performance at this year’s County Spelling Bee, and we thank him for taking the time to answer our questions. We also wish to thank Francis Parker School for arranging our interview with him.
A Delicious Focus on Pad Thai
We have shopped at Carnival Mexican Market for many years (located on Ashford Street, a couple blocks east of Kearny High School), and in the past several years we have noticed a small establishment in the shopping center called The Pad Thai Stand. We often wondered about it, but never stopped there. On a recent shopping day at Carnival, we finally decided to check it out, expecting to find a Thai restaurant with a full menu.
Although we saw the name was The Pad Thai Stand, it never occurred to us the small establishment would only sell Pad Thai noodles. We assumed it would have many Thai dishes. Turns out we were partially right. It does have many dishes, but all the dishes are types of Pad Thai. Who would know there were so many?
The Pad Thai Stand was established in 2017. It actually started as a food tent in Oceanside Sunset market preparing Pad Thai the Thai way, right in front of the customer. According to his website, Chef Ranna was inspired to dedicate a food stand to Pad Thai from his experiences in his Oceanside restaurant. Chef Ranna knows of over 30 different types of Pad Thai The two things they have In common are noodles and tamarind sauce. Apparently each region of Thailand has its own take on Pad Thai. Chef Ranna actually grew up in the Linda Vista and Spring Valley areas of San Diego County and he opened his first Thai restaurant while studying at San Diego State University.
The Pad Thai Stand is at 3520 Ashford Road and is open Sun thru Thurs 11am – 2pm and 4pm to 11pm, Friday and Saturday 11am – 2pm and 4pm – midnight. You can see their entire menu on their website, but it is fundamentally sort of pick and choose your own ingredients to your liking. There are basic ingredients such as the rice noodles and house Pad Thai sauce, bean sprouts, and you can add an egg or pepper to your spiciness level. For an extra cost there is dried shrimp, fried garlic and preserved sweet radish. Then you choose a protein including chicken, veggies, tofu, or shrimp. You can then choose the flavor of your choice from northern, central, southern, or old style. The standard sauce is tamarind, fish sauce, citrus, or Ayutthaya for an extra cost with added soy sauce and cranberries.
The staff are very helpful in choosing what type Pad Thai they think you will like best. We chose the shrimp northern style which included house peanut sauce, peanuts, and non spicy curry. We chose the normal ingredients without the egg and less spicy chili, and standard sauce. It was lunch time, so we bought one order and split it and there was plenty.
We both enjoyed it very much. The peanuts and peanut sauce were plentiful and that was a good thing. It was not spicy, so that also made us happy as we don’t do spice well. All in all, we enjoyed it and it made for a nice, quick, light lunch. The Pad Thai Stand is not anything fancy. It appears they are trying for that old time feel of street food in Thailand, and I think they have achieved that. Give it a try when you are in the mood for some Pad Thai. The prices are in the 11 to 14 dollar range. They also have tea, both hot and cold.
An Active Linda Vista Volunteer Sets the Example
Linda Vista has its share of residents willing to serve as general members or fill the leadership role of board member positions for civic minded organizations like the Linda Vista Community Planning Group (LVCPG) or the Linda Vista Town Council (LVTC).
Being a part of such a civic organization can mean investing a degree of personal time and effort as part of being a voice of the community However, there is one LV resident who has found the time and effort to simultaneously play leadership roles for three LV civic organizations. A life long resident of Linda Vista, Becky Hunt is currently serving as a member of the LVCPG, vice-president of the LVTC, and Chairperson of the Linda Vista Community Recreation Group.
A graduate of Carson Elementary, Montgomery Middle, and Kearny High, she is deeply committed to serving her community, a place where her parents lived, and where her daughter and grandchild now reside. She has fond memories of growing u[ in Linda Vista to include frequently going to Skateworld with her best friend when she was a kid.
Having worked a long time for a couple of San Diego area aerospace plants, and after receiving training and serving in leadership roles for the local machinist union, she eventually decided to use her leadership skills for the LV community. As a former president of the union, she felt confident about using her knowledge of parliamentary procedures and mentoring local volunteers in this regard. She first went through the Bayside Community Center’s Resident Leadership Academy, and then was subsequently elected to a position with the LVCPG (an organization responsible for addressing local land use issues), and then earned a position on the Linda Vista Community Recreation Council. As part of the LVCPG she has enjoyed learning what is going on in Linda Vista in terms of construction and new buildings. As part of the Linda Vista Community Recreation Group she has enjoyed being part of the LV Parks and Recreation Center’s Summer programs, to include spreading the word about the program to the rest of the community. As part of a big turnover of LVTC board members, she was just recently elected to serve as vice-president and is excited about what she thinks this organization can do to help make Linda Vista a better place.
She highly recommends residents attend meetings of these types of civic organizations and volunteer to become members if possible. “It’s a great way to be part of the community, and network with your neighbors to help make neighborhoods safer,” she said.
From her vantage point of civic volunteer, she sees two significant Linda Vista problems that need to be addressed. The first is high rental prices because they become unaffordable for many people. The second is the morning rush hour traffic problem on Ulric Street, which involves a long line of cars attempting to get on SR-163 because of the Ulric Street single lane configuration and the near constant flow of traffic turning up Ulric Street from Friars Road (westbound). She hopes to work on these two issues in her role as a local volunteer.
When asked if she has any special words for her fellow Linda Vista residents, she said “I encourage them to join community/civic groups and organizations, and to use the City’s “Get it Done” app to take care of things like abandoned vehicles, fallen trees, street lights, and gang graffiti.”
LV News Briefs:
—Farmers Market: The Love, Linda Vista Farmers Market will be open today from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Linda Vista Plaza Shopping Center. Come and get your fresh fruit and vegetables. There will be 30 vendors offering their various products. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, there are plenty of arts and crafts and delicious ethnic food booths.
—Parking Near Francis Parker School: The Linda Vista Town Council (LVTC) has been working with Francis Parker School to resolve parking problems (caused by campus construction) for residents living in the vicinity of the school. These residents are encouraged to read the recently published parking related instructions/solutions published by the LVTC, as provided here.
—SDPD RSVP Volunteers: The San Diego Police Department’s Western Division is looking for you to join their Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) Program. According to SDPD Officer David Surwilo, “You too can become a part of the solution by the joining to assist with neighborhood safety and crime prevention. You need only to be at least 50 years of age and be free to commit a minimum of three and a half days per month of your time. Following an RSVP Police Academy, plus some on the job training, you will be ready to wear the SILVER BADGE OF THE RSVP.” Click here to learn more details about joining the program.
—Councilmember Community Office Hours: Councilmember Raul Campillo (District 7) conducts monthly community office hours. This is time for D7 residents to meet directly with the Councilmember and ask questions or share concerns. This month’s Community Office Hours will be held Thursday March 23 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the San Carlos Library. If you would like to schedule time to meet with Councilmember Campillo, please email CherylW@sandiego.gov.
—The Kittens are Coming: San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) is preparing for the upcoming kitten season. Kittens will be depending on the services of the SDHS kitten nursery to prepare for their eventual adoption. In anticipation of kitten season, SDHS is conducting a Kitten Virtual Shower to ensure enough supplies are available for the Kitten Nursery and Foster Program. Please click here to learn what you need to do to contribute to the Virtual Kitten Shower. We encourage you to click here to view a fun video of the SDHS’s Kitten Program.
—LV Multi-Cultural Fair/Parade: The ever popular Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair and Parade will be held Saturday April 29. If you or your organization wish to participate in the fair and/or parade, please visit this site to apply for parade, entertainment, booth, volunteer, or sponsorship opportunities. And check out the below flyer.
—Host a Migrant Family: The International Rescue Committee is looking for volunteer families to host Migrant families. Please read the below flyer for more details.
The “Five Climbs of Linda Vista” Proposal
There is no getting around it—Linda Vista has a unique geographical make-up. The center of Linda Vista sits high on a mesa, and if you want to reach the center of our neighborhood from most directions, you must go up a hill to get there. Yes, it’s true you can’t have a “Linda Vista” without that uphill climb, but if you are a runner, walker, or cyclist, there are times when you (especially your thighs and lungs) dread having to go up those steep hills to reach your final destination. Since there is nothing we can do about those steep climbs, I suggest we should in fact take advantage of our unique geography to come up with a way to build a greater degree of community and perhaps at the same time develop a clever marketing scheme making Linda Vista a destination for those San Diego County residents in search of a physical challenge. I propose that what I am tentatively labelling as the “Linda Vista Five Climb Challenge” might be what our community is looking for in regard to developing community spirit, greater physical fitness for our residents, and increased LV tourism. Let me explain.
I recently spotted a flyer at the Mission Valley YMCA that advertised an outing to hike the “Five Peaks of San Diego.” Coincidentally, a few days later I came across a web site enticing people to take the “San Diego Five Peaks Challenge.” Both of these announcements drew my curiosity. At the risk of displaying my ignorance, I admit that before reading these two announcements I did not know anything about any such San Diego five peaks or any related challenge . However, after researching the subject, I came to realize the Five Peaks of San Diego are comprised of five mountain peaks in Mission Trails Regional Park, to include North Fortuna, South Fortuna, Kwaay Paay Peak, Cowles Mountain, and Pyles Peak. The Five Peak Challenge was created as a way of encouraging San Diego residents to explore more hiking trails beyond the ever-popular Cowles Mountain. It turns out many San Diegans take up various forms of the challenge such as attempting to hike all five trails in the same year, or by attempting to hike all five peaks in a 24-hour period. Some local organizations give out pins, or certificates, or other such types of recognition for those who meet the respective Challenge.
Accordingly, I propose we do something similar here in Linda Vista. We don’t have mountain peaks, but we do have uphill routes to reach the top of the mesa. So, as part of the “Five Climbs Challenge of Linda Vista”, we will encourage people to hike, bike and/or run up our five most challenging Linda Vista uphill “climbs”—to include:
The Ulric Street Climb: Start at Friars Road and go up Ulric Street until you reach Comstock Street.
The Via Las Cumbres Climb: Start at Friasr Road and go up Via Las Cumbres until you reach Linda Vista Road.
The Linda Vista Road Climb: Start at the bottom of Linda Vista Road, where it intersects Napa Street, and then go up Linda Vista Road until you reach Comstock Street.
The Goshen Street Climb: Start at Friars Road and go up Goshen Street until you reach Linda Vista Road.
The Overlook Heights Climb: Start on Morena Drive, and first go up Buenos Avenue, it will then turn into Bianca Avenue, then intersect with Dorcas Street, it will then turn into Overview Road. Go up Overview Road until it intersect with Plainview Road. Take this street until it intersects with Cushman Avenue, adjacent to the fence separating the residential area from the University of San Diego property.
We can be very creative with what I figure we should really be calling the “Linda Vista Low Altitude Five Climbs Challenge.” For example, we can ask beginners to challenge themselves by running, walking or cycling up each of the five climbs within a year. Needless to say, this will give people the opportunity to make a positive achievement in their lives. More advanced athletes can take on the challenge of completing all five of the uphill climbs within a 24-hour period. Super advanced athletes can first run, then walk, and then cycle up each of the five uphill climbs within a 24-hour period. And super-super advanced athletes can first run, then walk, and then climb each of the five uphills climbs while initially visiting the Mexican food establishment nearest to the start of each leg of the climb and eating a taco and drinking a beer before heading uphill—a true physical and intestinal fortitude challenge.
Once they have had their successful climbs certified, these accomplished athletes can apply to receive—what should more accurately be called— a “Linda Vista Low Altitude but Positive Attitude Creating Five Climb Challenge” pin, certificate, or T-shirt. Imagine the pride such residents would feel while wearing either of these much coveted awards!! And visitors from outside Linda Vista would go back home wearing these prideful awards and thus attract even more visitors looking for a worthy physical challenge.
There is actually a Seven Summits Challenge composed of the highest peaks on each continent. This Challenge includes famous peaks like Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest. Only 118 people in the world have climbed all Seven Summits. People who have completed this challenge may scoff at the idea of a much lower altitude, less strenuous—let’s call it what it really is— “Linda Vista Low Altitude but Positive Attitude Creating and Relatively Not that Rigorous Five Climbs Challenge”, but sometimes you have to play the cards you were dealt, and in our case, the community of Linda Vista was dealt a mesa, not a mountain. It’s up to us to make the most of it.
See you at the top of Ulric and Comstock!
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I love the newsletter. I finally had my car detailed by the guy at the do-it-yourself carwash. My car is 7 years old and he make it look brand new. I have never had such a beautiful detail done. He ever got some paint that was on my back bumper off. I would highly recommend him to anyone who wants their car thoroughly cleaned and polished. Vonnie Greenan
The uphill climb article had me laughing out loud so loudly that I scared my cat. My favorite part is when you wrote grab a taco and a beer before you start climbing up the hill! Thanks for making my day.