B-e-e mine: Spelling contest title up for grabs Thursday
Fifty-two students from school districts across town will be r-e-p-r-e-s-e-n-t-i-n-g their home campuses Thursday during the 67th Annual Yuma County Spelling Bee.
The free event, hosted by the Yuma Sun's Newspapers in Education (NIE) program and organized by the Yuma County School Superintendent's Office, will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Historic Yuma Theatre, 254 S. Main St.
Students competing this year range from third- to eighth-graders from public, private and charter schools in the area.
Every year, the event draws a great group of spellers, said Karen Phillips, NIE/customer service manager, adding that sometimes the students end up competing through lunchtime.
“These kids are amazing. The words that they can spell are just phenomenal, some of them I can't even pronounce let alone spell,” Phillips said.
“If you're out and have nothing to do that day, by all means come by and encourage these kids. It would be great for you and great for the kids also.”
Phillips explained that because last year's winner, Alessia Garcia, is now in high school, she won't be competing to defend her title. The playing field is now open for a new face to go home with the win, she said.
Judges this year include Jacob Anderson, 2010 Yuma County Teacher of the Year from Gila Ridge High School; John Vaughn, Bajo El Sol editor; and Bob Roeser, Yuma Sun circulation director.
Awards will be presented for spellers and lunch will be served to contestants and their parents directly after the spelling bee at the Yuma Art Center.
Other major sponsors of the event include Arizona Public Service, Allied Waste, Domino's Pizza and Coca-Cola.
School finalists competing:
Speller / Grade / School
Torrey Stone / 6th / Southwestern Christian School
Cody Staneart / 6th / Calvary Baptist School
Andrea Mincitar / 8th / San Luis Middle School
Kenneth "Joey" Burkart / 4th / O.C .Johnson Elementary
Ricardo Angulo / 5th / Gadsden Elementary School
Prescilla Augustin / 5th / Desert Sonora Elementary
Anahi Gaxiola / 6th / Ronald Reagan Elementary
Connie Sandoval / 8th / Centennial Middle School
Victoria Pena / 8th / Crane Middle School
Sydney Smith / 4th / Wellton Elementary School
Mathew Cary / 8th / Gila Vista Jr. High
Sergio Rodriguez / 5th / Pecan Grove Elementary
Ryan Danford / 5th / J.B. Rolle School
Tommy Medina / 4th / Palmcroft Elementary
Cherif Lo / 5th / James D. Price Elementary
Arilyn Rose Gonzalez / 7th / Woodard Jr. High School
Ashley Honey Close / 7th / Immaculate Conception School
Matthew Diaz / 8th / Fourth Avenue Jr. High School
Kimberly Vega / 5th / H.L. Suverkrup
Melody Aguilera / 6th / Somerton Middle School
Nitant Soni / 6th / Desert View Elementary School
Andrea Galindo / 3rd / Tierra Del Sol Elementary
Jake Monson / 5th / Sunrise Elementary School
Isaac Castro / 6th / Rancho Viejo Elementary
Francisco Cruz / 5th / Roosevelt Elementary School
Eduardo Soto / 7th / Southwest Jr. High School
Christine Compton / 5th / Desert Mesa Elementary School
Madigan Smith / 7th / Carpe Diem Collegiate Middle School
John White / 5th / Alice Byrne School
Megan McCullough / 8th / Castle Dome Middle School
Justin Oliveros / 7th / Ron Watson Middle School
Yazan Abdella / 5th / Desert View Academy
Brooklyn Booker / 5th / Valley Horizon Elementary
Rebekah Jameson / 5th / Mary A. Otondo Elementary
Catherine Raible / 6th / Yuma Lutheran School
Damian Luna / 4th / Ed Pastor Elementary School
Maggie Golding / 6th / Mesquite Elementary
Jasmine Perez / 5th / G.W. Carver Elementary
George Romero III / 5th / Amerischools Academy North
Yara Picasso / 5th / C.W. McGraw Elementary
Alban Ozuna / 5th / Orange Grove Elementary
Bettina Thomas / 7th / Harvest Preparatory Academy - Yuma
Sydney Young / 7th / St. Francis of Assisi School
Krista Rider / 7th / Mohawk Valley School
Itzel Melendrez / 5th / Rio Colorado Elementary
Carla Ceja / 5th / Arizona Desert Elementary School
Jacque Quintana / 8th / Dateland Elementary
Alexander Smith / 6th / Pueblo Elementary
Amilia Valenzuela / 4th / Amerischools Academy South
Elian Macias / 6th / Gary A. Knox Elementary
Aneesa Ramirez / 6th / Cesar Chavez Elementary School
Mario Rodriguez / 6th / Harvest Preparatory Academy - San Luis
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.