Division Contact Info
Fax: (831) 466-5846
Educational Services Division
Spellmaster Presides for 30th Year over Hotly Contested Spelling Bee
Over one hundred students in grades 4-9 gathered at the UCSC campus for the annual county-wide spelling bee.
Mardi loves the spelling bee because she loves words. She "loves saying words, loves using words, loves thinking about the origins of words." The community of Santa Cruz County is grateful that Mardi has been willing to devote so many years to serving as spellmaster, which entails both presiding over the event and also preparing the word list every year. Mardi says that she is amazed by the spelling talents of the elementary division students (grades 4-6) and always needs to include a few words from the upper division sample word lists to make sure there are enough challenging words. One word that she remembers stumping everyone is "antimacassar", which readers of Victorian novels will remember is "a piece of cloth put over the back of a chair to protect it from grease and dirt or as an ornament."
The Junior Division was also closely contested. Rina Rossi, a ninth grader at Pacific Collegiate School who last year placed third, this year took home the first place trophy and will represent Santa Cruz County at the state-level. Rina had only one incorrect word in a list of challenges such as "fructiferous" and "caterwaul." In second place was Andrew Crabtree, a seventh grader from Ocean Grove Charter School, with only two errors. There was an initial tie for third place, with only three errors. J.J. Kim-Eubio, a seventh grader at Alianza Charter School and last year's second-place winner of the Elementary Division, and Gunnika Kapoor, a seventh grader at Ocean Grove Charter School, battled it out in a spell-off. Gunnika eventually captured third place by correctly spelling "pneumococcal."
Ocean Grove Charter Student Judah Kim Aces Spelling Bee, published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on February 4, 2017.