Voltaire topped the spelling competition in his school. He went on to compete with other schools and emerged the winner. He would next compete in the National Finals.
His coach was the Assistant Principal, Mrs Maria Alcantara. The coaching was continuous, and extended on the weekends with Voltaire going to Mrs. Alcantara's house in PAE. For a grade school student, words like baccalaureate, pneumatic, scythe, ichthyology were completely alien. But the drill included those words. Mrs. Alcantara was a good coach. She didn't settle for Voltaire to just know how to spell, but to understand these words and be able to use them in a sentence.
There were also lessons on how to spell the word by just listening to how it is pronounced. Tough.
Came D-Day. The process was round-robin, where each contestant who misspells a word is eliminated, until only one is left. There were 12 contestants. One by one, they were eliminated, until only three were left. Voltaire, Romeo Solis, and Ronald Bregandahl (the son of Ms. Rita Gomez).
Voltaire went back to school crying. He lost. And his waterloo? A very simple word : QUORUM. He misspelled it as QUOROM.